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access to finance

Presidential medals and credit bureaus

Ryan Hahn's picture

Microfinance received a nice fillip recently when Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama. While Yunus's rockstar status has helped put the access to finance agenda center stage, I wonder if it might obscure some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps the phrase "credit bureaus" may not cause your heart to race, but in some countries this is really where the action is at.

The indictment is in, but what about that verdict?

Ryan Hahn's picture

Last month I wrote about the underwhelming results of a randomized control trial of microcredit in India. The long and short of it: access to credit helped increase business investment, but didn't have any noticeable effect on the things we really care about, like health and education. While it would perhaps be unfair to say that the study was a final verdict on microfinance, it was clearly a serious indictment.