The Case for Social Investment in Microcredit

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There are strong arguments for continued investment in microcredit. These arguments are based on, not in contradiction to, the recent evaluations of microcredit impact. That the average impact of access to microcredit is modest is not in serious doubt. However, every evaluation of the impact of microcredit shows that there are people who benefit, and that most borrowers, when lenders behave responsibly, do not experience harm. Comprehensive research on microfinance and subsidy shows that virtually all microfinance institutions are subsidized, but these subsidies are small. There are two clear paths for increasing microcredit’s impact through continued investment.