Handbook of Microfinance

Edited by Beatriz Armendáriz (University College London, UK & Harvard University, USA) & Marc Labie (Université de Mons, Belgium)

microfinance research

Handbook of Microfinance

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Table of Contents (53k)
Introduction (121k)
Chapter 1: Microfinance Evaluation Strategies: Notes on Methodology and Findings (345k)
Chapter 2: Spanning the Chasm: Uniting Theory and Empiricsin Microfinance Research (163k)
Chapter 6: Microfinance Trade-Offs:Regulation, Competition and Financing (163k)

About the Book

The Handbook of Microfinance showcases an expansive collection of works from leading academics and field practitioners. In an attempt to understand the enormous gap between the limited number of clients that are currently benefiting from microfinance services, and the huge number of potential clients that are not, the selected contributions in this comprehensive handbook have one common thread: the prevailing mismatch between demand by clients of microfinance institutions and potential clients selecting themselves out for their demand for a wider array of financial products which is not being met.

The scope of the book is wide, and explores successes and failures, main challenges and debates, methodologies for impact evaluation via random trials, leading trends in Asia versus Latin America, main efforts in Africa, the importance of value chains in Central America, ethical and gender issues, savings, microinsurance, governance, commercialization trends and the potential advantages and disadvantages of it. This exhaustive Handbook also features main lessons from informal finance and 19th-century credit cooperatives addressing the above-mentioned mismatch.


  • Introduction:
    • Introduction and Overview: An Inquiry into the Mismatch in Microfinance (B Armendáriz & M Labie)
  • Understanding Microfinance Practices:
    • Microfinance Evaluation Strategies: Notes on Methodology and Findings (D Karlan & N Goldberg)
    • Spanning the Chasm: Uniting Theory and Empirics in Microfinance Research (G Fischer & M Ghatak)
    • The Early German Credit Cooperatives and Microfinance Organizations Today: Similarities and Differences (T W Guinnane)
    • Understanding the Diversity and Complexity of Demand for Microfinance Services: Lessons from Informal Finance (I Guérin, S Morvant-Roux & J-M Servet)
    • Ethics in Microfinance (M Hudon)
  • Understanding Microfinance’s Macro-Environment and Organization Context:
    • Microfinance Trade-Offs: Regulation, Competition and Financing (R Cull, A Demirgüç-Kunt & J Morduch)
    • Oversight is a Many-Splendored Thing: Choice and Proportionality in Regulating and Supervising Microfinance Institutions (J K Rosengard)
    • The Performance of Microfinance Institutions: Do Macro Conditions Matter? (N Hermes & A Meesters)
    • Microfinance in Bolivia: Foundation of the Growth, Outreach and Stability of the Financial System (C Gonzalez-Vega & M Villafani-Ibarnegaray)
    • Microfinance — A Strategic Management Framework (G Stuart)
    • What External Control Mechanisms Help Microfinance Institutions Meet the Needs of Marginal Clientele? (V Hartarska & D Nadolnyak)
    • Corporate Governance Challenges in Microfinance (M Labie & R Mersland)
  • Current Trends Toward Commercialization:
    • Corporate Responsibility Versus Social Performance and Financial Inclusion (J-M Servet)
    • The Importance of the Link Between Socially Responsible Investors and Microfinance Institutions (E Karrer-Rüedi)
    • On Mission Drift in Microfinance Institutions (B Armendáriz & A Szafarz)
    • Social Investment in Microfinance: The Trade-Off Between Risk, Return and Outreach to the Poor (R Galema & R Lensink)
    • Efficiency (M Hudon & B Balkenhol)
    • Social and Financial Efficiency of Microfinance Institutions (C Serrano-Cinca, B Gutiérrez-Nieto & C M Molinero)
  • Meeting Unmet Demand: The Challenge of Financing Agriculture:
    • Is Microfinance the Adequate Tool to Finance Agriculture? (S Morvant-Roux)
    • What is the Demand for Microcredit? The Case of Rural Areas in Serbia (W Parienté)
    • Rural Microfinance and Agricultural Value Chains: Strategies and Perspectives of the Fondo de Desarrollo Local in Nicaragua (J Bastiaensen & P Marchetti)
  • Meeting Unmet Demand: Savings, Insurance, and Aiming at the Ultra Poor:
    • Women and Microsavings (B Armendáriz)
    • Boosting the Poor’s Capacity to Save: A Note on Instalment Plans and Their Variants (S Rutherford)
    • Insurance for the Poor: Definitions and Innovations (C Churchill)
    • Reaching the People Whom Microfinance Cannot Reach: Learning from BRAC’s “Targeting the Ultra Poor” Programme (D Hulme, K Moore & K F Bin Seraj)
  • Meeting Unmet Demand: Gender and Education:
    • The Gender of Finance and Lessons for Microfinance (I Guérin)
    • Taking Gender Seriously: Towards a Gender Justice Protocol for Financial Services (L Mayoux)
    • Higher Education Through Microfinance: The Case of Grameen Bank (A U Dowla)

Readership: Researchers interested in Microfinance, graduate students and advanced undergraduates in economics, social sciences or development.

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