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Historical Perspective On Microfinance Research

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Microfinance has rapidly grown over the last few decades into an important sub-field of progressive studies. This research Studies searches the contributions of Microfinance sector, drawing mainly on research conducted in India. After a brief overview about the emergence of Microfinance as a research area, this develops three themes. First, Microfinance interferences generally means the process of revolution of, financially excluded people who are not fully dominated by the logic of market exchange but have histories, culture, social relationships and politics structured by other kinds of authority and dynamics. Second, that understanding Microfinance involvements at the local level needs the social, political and economic investigation of worldwide development architecture, while Microfinance sector may also play a great role in consolidating or strengthening global political economy at its base. Third, I claim that Microfinance involvements have provided fertile ground for research into the causes and consequences of poverty and women empowerment.

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Microfinance sector, over the last few decades have expanded into an important sub-field of research and development practice. At the beginning it primarily associated with micro-businesses, Microfinance has grown to include a much wider range of monetary and financial services, accessible by a range of institutions, including non-government organisations, building societies, credit unions, savings clubs, commercial banks, cooperative banks and insurance companies (Zeller, 2006). They are in joint extension of facilities to people earlier considered un-bankable due to low-operating margins, high transaction costs of reaching them, the apparent risks of loans and small borrowers’ collateral (Harper, 2003). Demirguc-Kunt & Klapper (2012) they approximation that about 2.5 billion working-age population (more than half of the world’s adult population) still not have availability of access financial services carried by regulated financial institutions. Monetary inclusion has advanced as a combining global goal of Microfinance: it working towards access to financial services to help worldwide people not only for save and invest but also to manage and protect themselves from economic shocks risk. (Armenda ´riz & Morduch, 2010).

The Micro loans are income activity based, a scalable poverty and women economic and social empowerment based solutions that are taken place in most parts of world today. Microfinance has emerged as a strong tool for financial inclusion that links low comminutes with banks. It’s crucial for achieving inclusive economic process and solely such growth is property. The basic idea of microfinance is to provide small credit to the poor people who otherwise would not have access to banking services. Microfinance programme extend small loans to very poor people (particularly women) for self-employment projects that generate income and allow them to take care for themselves and their families. This programme is working in many developing countries. About the concept of microfinance programme, impact assessment studies have been done by many authors in different countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand and many other countries of South Asia and Africa. The microfinance literature offers a diversity of findings relating to the type and level of impact of the programme.

Historical Perspective on Microfinance Research

The term Microfinance is relatively new; the underlying concept. There are resemblances, for example between modern microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the German credit organizations of the second half of the 19th century (Guinnane, 2011). Microfinance did not suddenly arise in the middle of the 1990s with the book Finance against Poverty published by Hulme & Mosley (1996), or through the work of Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Literature linking development of retail financial services with poverty and development also goes back over a century; one early example is work by Le Play and followers such as Engel (who had been his student at the Paris Ecole des Mines) on the circulation of money and debt, based on the analysis of household level monetary and financial practices. Hulme and Mosley (1996) in their study on microfinance to eradicate poverty, he argues that well-designed programmes can improve the living standard of the poor and can move them out of poverty. According to them “evidence shows that the impact of a loan on a borrower’s income is related to the level of income” as those people having high income have a greater investment opportunities and so credit schemes are more likely to benefit the “middle and upper poor”. Yunus (1998) in their work put their views deprivation that the exclusion of poor women from land rights had been contributory to their marginal position. Grameen Bank in Bangladesh took a bold step it’s provided housing loans to members with 3 loan cycles and with title deeds to the land on which the house was built. As most group members were women, one of the results was that women had title deeds transferred to them often from their husbands to obtain these loans. This had also reduced the incidence of divorce. As women, are the owners of their own houses, they could not be easily evicted.

Poverty is due to lack of income. Wright (1999) highlighted the shortcomings of only taking the increased income as a measure of the impact of microfinance on poverty. He states that there is a vast difference between increasing income and reducing poverty (1999). He says that by increasing the income of the poor, MFIs are not necessarily reducing poverty. It depends how the poor use this money, oftentimes it is gambled away or spent on alcohol (1999), so focusing solely on increasing incomes is not enough. The focus needs to be on helping the poor to “sustain a specified level of well-being” (Wright, 1999) by providing them a variety of financial services tailored to their needs so that their net wealth and income security can be improved. On the contrary Hashemi et.al (1996) told that women have access to saving and credit system has hardly any impact on their lives. Their results shown that women should give access to savings system contributes notably to the degree of the economic contributions reported by women, to the likelihood of an increase in asset holdings in their own names, to an increase in their exercise of purchasing power, and in their social, political and legal awareness as well as in composite empowerment index. They also found that access to credit was also associated with higher levels of mobility, political involvement in ‘major decision-making’ for particular organizations. Gaonkar’s (2004) research paper also aims at evaluating the role of SHGs in the empowerment of women. Primary data was collected from the state of Goa, India. Out of total 600 Self Help Groups functioning in Goa about 100 groups were promoted by National Co-operative Union of India (NCUI).

Twenty-five women SHGs was promoted by NCUI from Bardez and Bicholim talukas were selected on the basis of sampling. Comparison of past and present SHG technique was made. The study made it clear that the microfinance programme had made a lasting impact on the lives of women particularly in rural areas of Goa. There was income generating, savings and consumption expenditures. With the improvement in self-confidence, the social horizon of the members has also widened. It was found that with the improvements in socio-economic opportunities for women and their ability to take collective action, there had been a significant decline in gender based problems such as domestic violence, dowry, polygamy etc. Interestingly, the members were motivating other women to form SHGs so that they can also take direct programme benefits. SHGs has made better understanding between the members of different religious groups. This was a significant change to have understanding and tolerance towards the members of other religions particularly in a country like India where there was a diversity of religions and castes. Swain (2007) studied the role of SHG bank linkage programmes on poverty, vulnerability and socio economic development of the programme participants. The study collected data in two periods from five states in India. He used group discussion and interview methods for his studies. Twenty group discussions were conducted; four in each of the five surveyed states. In each group there were 15-20 SHG participants each from different SHG. In order to aware the outcomes of microfinance programme, the SHG members were compared with respondents who were un-exposed to the concept of SHGs till the time of the survey. The comparison showed a differences. The level of confidence, mobility, and exposure and communication skill were better for the SHG participants.

Majority (88 per cent) of the SHG respondents showed a positive response in the meetings that were held thereafter. Increase in self-confidence after making participation in the group as compared to only 34 per cent of control households. The SHG households showed a positive response in the meetings that were held thereafter. About 87 per cent of the SHG respondents expressed their ability to meet a financial crisis in the family. Almost sixty per cent of the SHG members and 43 per cent of the control group members reported that borrowing women themselves took the crucial decisions regarding the purchase of raw material and product pricing. About 50 per cent of the microfinance participants reported an increased level of respect from their spouses as compared to just 20 per cent of the control group respondents. When compared to the control group, the data also showed a greater involvement of SHG participants in decision-making, children marriage, buying and selling of property and sending their daughters to school etc. However, a small increase of about 8 per cent in family violence was also noticed within the participant households.

Microfinance sector as Part of Global Development Architecture

Current theoretical standpoints that draw on trans-disciplinary bases and narrate the discipline of global relations and the large-field of international economic ascendency to the small-field of Microfinance have progressive social, political and economic analysis of a global “development construction” in which Microfinance is very significant to its economic and political consolidation at the base. Historically, Microfinance sector was extended at the same time as a worldwide wave of privatization and increasing domination of neo-liberal ideas about the development [Fernando, 2006; Bolivian (Servet, 2006), Fouillet et al., 2007; and see the Bateman, 2012; Egyptian cases (Elyachar, 2005, 2008) and Indian (Pattenden, 2010)]. Weber (2002) specifically claimed that huge layoffs resultant from liberalisation and privatisation, public downsising created the need for small-scale credit services to help self-employment that normally results from such development routes. She also argues that Microfinance sector facilitated financial liberalisation, in so far as it functions as a security and protection which dampens to local confrontation to neo-liberal policies. Likewise, Fernando (2006) reflects about the “popularity of Microfinance sector establishes the significant capability of capitalism to use the languages and disapprovals of its opponents to secure the situations for its reproduction” (p. 31). The innovators of Microfinance sector development practice were NGOs (Mersland & Strøm, 2010). But since last one decade commercial banks developed their interests in Microfinance sector and many micro-enterprise-lending non-government organisations have also converted themselves into for-profit organisations, structured either as intermediaries with links to full-fledged banks or as non-financial institutions. The first such kind of transformation occurred in Bolivia with BancoSol in 1992.

This process also refueled historical discussion on Microfinance related to the task drift of Microfinance institutions (Copestake, 2007; Armenda ´riz & Szafarz, 2011). When banks as well as non-banking financial institutions employed new performers as a shareholder, the question rose whether the commercial and hybridisation objectives changed the markets for Microfinance away from its original developmental constituencies of poor, less profitable and unsafe clients. Augsburg & Fouillet (2010) investigated the role play by international organisations in diverting Microfinance from their key objective of delivering financial services to the poor. Illustrating their argument from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, they show that such a push had a severe consequence, fluctuating from assignment drift to legally doubtful and oppressive practices. The Lending targets for some Micro Finance Institutions has tremendously increased, leaving credit officers with the task of attainment too many clients in too short period of time. To meet such goals and targets, clients were persuaded to repay current debts by taking out new and bigger loans. On being approved, in many cases only about 80% of the total amount was actually distributed. The rest was kept as a security deposit, without records, but with members expected about the repay of whole amount. Furthermore, authors define how the Microcredit crisis in the state Andhra Pradesh reflects anger of public and private actors driven by motives unrelated to a “poverty eradication” (Reddy, 2012). Instead Microfinance sector emerged one of a new profitable niche for private actors, it stimulating the oleo early state-led models as a source of patronage for politicians and political brokers. Placing this Microfinance sector as a wider context of growing indebtedness, Taylor (2011) displays how the growth of Microcredit did not provide finance to financially marginalized people, as strategy accounts suggest, but as an alternative served to rework and combine existing debt relationships. In this sector, we have seen that Microfinance has often emerged in the context of government programmes of privatisation and also many Microfinance institutions consequently shifted to commercial constructions and funding. The whole impact of shifting from a commercial structure or funding is still to be strongminded and is a importance for future research in this area.

Microfinance and Poverty Eradication: Impact Evaluation

The impact of Microfinance programmme has been the subject of continuous discussion. Furthermore, the reliability of micro-level studies of its influence on poverty eradication has been questioned (e.g. Banerjee et al., 2009). The maximum cited study by Pitt & Khandker (1998), using data for 1991–1992, projected that by lent every 100 takas to a woman members provided an 18 additional taka to the household budget. In a well-received study on the impact of Microfinance on poverty in North-eastern Thailand, Coleman (1999) it found very little influence on debtors and even rises in money-borrowing and in women borrowers falling into vicious circles of debt. These results and other impact studies have been confronted because of selection biases in the samples and problems of indigeneity (Armenda ´riz & Morduch, 2010). Microfinance customers have characteristics that are very difficult to regulator for in experimental design in no laboratory conditions, and which therefore create bias. As a result of such criticism, a new kind of procedure has been planned based on experiences in agricultural research, health and US social policy—the randomised control trial (RCT). Researchers using RCTs claim that if one wants to assess the impact of a programme, the impact on receivers (the “treatment group”) needs evaluating in contradiction of the counterfactual of those not receiving it (the “control”) (Karlan & Goldberg, 2010). Since 2005, many influence studies using RCT have been launched. But while about the results of pre-RCT influence studies of Microfinance are mixed, so are those based on RCTs. An evaluation of the evidence commissioned by the aid agency of UK DFID come to the conclusion that till 2011 only two RCTs were lacking of methodological problems (Duvendack et al., 2011). Microfinance RCTs often nonexistence proper randomisation of Microfinance distribution and/or double striking (Duvendack et al., 2011). The two most organizationally robust RCTs find small direct impact on well-being. Banerjee et al. (2009), first analyses a sample in the slum population of Hyderabad, Andre Pradesh and he concludes that there is “not any kind of effect on access to microfinance per capita expenditure on average monthly, but about the spending on durable goods improved in treated areas and the improvement of new businesses increased almost by one third”. Karlan & Zinman (2009) using data about the user’s form customer praise in the border areas of Manila, they get results that Microfinance debtors, if male, seemed to shrink their business units while profits increase. They also enlarged their informal credit “to absorb shockwaves” and they also replaced informal for formal insurance. Worries about the role of Microfinance sector in poverty eradication have been encouraged not only by the incomplete evidences but also by the cases of its use to remove extraordinary profits. The leading example for this was early public contribution of the Mexican Microfinance institutions Compartamos (Cull et al., 2009). Almost 30% of its remaining shares were sold at 12 times their book worth to new stockholders, it providing existing shareholders a net profit of about $460 million On April 2007. Beneficiaries including non-government organizations ACCION, the Global Financial Organization and private persons. Allegations that below poverty line people paying interest rates very high were sacrificed for rich investors flourished (Ashta & Hudon, 2012). This succeeding cases have reawakened discussion over the commercialistion and development purposes of Microfinance institutions (Pache & Santos, 2010), also the scope for more clear opposite of the two through better-quality “social presentation management” (Copestake, 2007).

This outline has explored how Microfinance sector has grown as a “sub-field” of progressive research studies, beached in economics, management and commerce but also incorporating with other areas. Initially I have emphasised about the difficulty of the “economic” routes of groups and persons engaged in Microfinance and also have recommended that the indication for its part in reducing poverty, building social capital and authorizing women remains mixed. Second, I have addressed the connection between the global architecture development, connecting its increasing commercialisation to broader trends of liberalization and privatisation. Last, the researcher has discovered the scope and limitations of Microfinance as a advance project, and how the microfinance research has contributed creatively to the analysis of poverty. The obtainability, access and approval of financial area have been found to effect on build financial and physical resources, ability to make more investments and handle monetary shocks of people, in ways that are as diverse and difficult as the wider political and economic system within which Microfinance sector operates.

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  • Category: Economics
  • Subcategory: Finances
  • Pages: 6
  • Words: 2943
  • Published: 06/12/19
  • Downloads: 16
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