Journal Article

Does microcredit reach the poor and vulnerable? Evidence from northern Bangladesh

This paper evaluates whether microcredit programs such as the popular Grameen Bank reach the relatively poor and vulnerable in two Bangladeshi villages. It uses a unique panel dataset with monthly consumption and income data for 229 households before they received loans. We find that while microcredit is successful at reaching the poor, it is less successful at reaching the vulnerable. Our results also suggest that microcredit is unsuccessful at reaching the group most prone to destitution, the vulnerable poor. Our main contribution is to explicitly evaluate the targeting of an antipoverty intervention using the efficient risk-sharing framework in Townsend [Econometrica 62 (1994) 539-591].