Wider Impacts of Microfinance Institutions: Towards Defining the Scope and Methodology

The theme of wider implications of microfinance institutions’ interventions is a relatively uncharted territory, though the term is alluded to quite frequently. The interest in this theme has emerged out of a number of motivations. One important view underlying such motivation is that the total impact of microfinance intervention is being underestimated through conventional impact studies. It is alleged that the latter do not take into account the possible positive externalities on spheres beyond households and the subsequent feedback effects on both participant and non-participant households. This assumption, we argue, is driven by a conceptualization of total impact consisting of two mutually exclusive impacts— narrow and wide. Yet, we argue that what is conventionally termed as ‘narrow’ impacts can be perceived as a reduced form expression, incorporating all secondary effects arising from households’ (participants and non-participants) engagements with various market and non-market institutions. Analytically then, it becomes difficult to pursue the wider impact theme and yet recognize that individuals and households are the expected beneficiaries of all program interventions.

Authors: Zohir, Sajjad; Matin, Imran
Type: Report
Year: 2002