DP9165 Market Structure and Borrower Welfare in Microfinance

Author(s): Jonathan de Quidt, Thiemo Fetzer, Maitreesh Ghatak
Publication Date: October 2012
Keyword(s): for-profit, market power, microfinance, social capital
JEL(s): D4, D82, G21, L4, O12
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Financial Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9165

Motivated by recent controversies surrounding the role of commercial lenders in microfinance, we analyze borrower welfare under different market structures, considering a benevolent non-profit lender, a for-profit monopolist, and a competitive credit market. To understand the magnitude of the effects analyzed, we simulate the model with parameters estimated from the MIX Market database. Our results suggest that market power can have severe implications for borrower welfare, while despite possible information frictions competition typically delivers similar borrower welfare to non-profit lending. In addition, for-profit lenders are less likely to use joint liability than non-profits.