Microfinance: a comprehensive evaluation
February 22, 2012
Speaker: David Roodman
David Roodman will describe his recently completed project, embodied in the book Due Diligence, to evaluate the broad class of interventions we call microfinance. As for the substance, he concludes that the impacts of the businesslike delivery of credit to the poor have been greatly exaggerated. Yet there is good reason to believe that efforts broadly in the spirit of microcredit, but emphasizing safer services such as savings and insurance, can do real good and deserve modest ongoing support. Financial services are intangible equivalent clean water electricity, connections to infrastructure that can enhance development as freedom, in the sense of Amartya Sen. As for process, the work demonstrates the value of replication in determining the true state of knowledge in evaluation; and of being open-minded but explicit about definitions of success when doing evaluation.