The Macroeconomics of Microfinance

Francisco J. Buera
Joseph Kaboski
Yongseok Shin
Publication Type: 
Working Papers
Publication Article File: 
Journal Volume: 
NBER Working Paper No. 17905
Publication Year: 
2011

This paper provides a quantitative evaluation of the aggregate and distributional impacts of economy-wide microfinance or other credit programs targeted toward small-scale entrepreneurs.  In our analysis, we find that the redistributive impacts of microfinance are stronger in general-equilibrium, but the aggregate impacts are smaller.  Making the typical microfinance program more widely available has a negligible impact on per-capita income, since an increase in aggregate total factor productivity (TFP) is offset by lower capital accumulation that stems from redistributing income from individuals with high saving rates to those with low saving rates.  However, the welfare impact is uniformly positive except for those few that are extremely talented and/or wealthy. 

This paper was presented at the CFSP Savings and Financial Underpinnings of Macro Models Workshop in October 2010. The corresponding discussion is also available.

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JEL Codes: 
D91, D92, E44, O11
Region: 
Global
Topic: 
General Equilibrium
Topic: 
Economic Modeling
Topic: 
Enterprise
Topic: 
Microfinance
Topic: 
Credit
Topic: 
Occupational Choice
Topic: 
Growth