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The origins of microfinance

Summary:
Marvin Suesse and Nikolaus Wolf in this article: There was a rapid spread of credit cooperatives in rural 19th-century Germany providing small-scale savings and loan services to previously unbanked people. This column shows how these cooperatives helped shift farm investment from grains to potentially profitable but more capital-intensive products, such as the production of meat and dairy. In cases like this, changes in the sector of economic activity are a better metric for the impact of microfinance than comparing income pre- and post-credit. …. If microcredit allows farmers to exit a declining sector, a comparison between their pre- and post-credit incomes will not necessarily reveal the ‘impact’ of microfinance on income. Changes in the sector of economic activity would be a more

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Marvin Suesse and Nikolaus Wolf in this article:

There was a rapid spread of credit cooperatives in rural 19th-century Germany providing small-scale savings and loan services to previously unbanked people. This column shows how these cooperatives helped shift farm investment from grains to potentially profitable but more capital-intensive products, such as the production of meat and dairy. In cases like this, changes in the sector of economic activity are a better metric for the impact of microfinance than comparing income pre- and post-credit.

Amol Agrawal
I am currently pursuing my PhD in economics. I have work-ex of nearly 10 years with most of those years spent figuring economic research in Mumbai’s financial sector.

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