Does microfinance affect refugee livelihoods? : a study of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2001
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. The effective design and delivery of a program of microfinance is difficult under any circumstance. However, in conflicted-affected societies the task of these institutions that seek to provide financial stability to its most impoverished members the task is complicated manifold. Thus, the central question motivating this analysis is: How does microfinance affect refugee livelihoods? The analysis is also motivated, in part, because of a relative lack of thorough and rigorous empirical research on this topic. The analysis will look at a case study of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2001. This paper conducts rigorous statistical analysis of the LSMS World Bank dataset to answer the two questions: First, what factors does access to microcredit depend on? And second, will access to microcredit impact the poverty of refugee and displaced populations?; The analysis shows that IDPs/refugees are statistically less likely to get loans than non-IDPs/refugees. Thus, from a policy perspective it is important to focus attention on these population groups which are most affected, and least able to pull themselves out of poverty. While the results do not definitively evidence a positive impact of loan-taking behavior on the consumption levels of IDP/refugee households, they do not, at the same time, definitively rule out that possibility. Beyond any doubt, the paper does certainly make enough of a quantitative case that any arbitrary ruling out of microfinance as a tool for the reconstruction and development of IDP/refugee livelihoods is premature and myopic.
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