Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2019

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Sanjay Paul, Professor Jonathan Rudy


For several years, microfinance institutions (MFI) have been providing the financially disadvantaged with small loans to allow them to escape poverty. These institutions specifically target women as recipients of the loans (usually less than $100 USD) because women in developing countries traditionally do not have access to start their own business, create their own income, and advance themselves in society. However, there are arguments that this approach does not increase a woman’s income or create a better living situation for the woman or her family. As every country has different microfinance policies and cultures, microfinance impacts every country differently. This paper is divided into two parts. The first part discusses several studies and outcomes regarding microfinance in developing countries in south and southeast Asia. The second part of this paper consists of critiques and possible improvements to these policies. The indicators that signify the success of microfinance are an increase in the woman's income and independence, and indications of a higher standard of living for families, such as higher levels of children's education and health. I believe that the data will indicate that certain countries have better microfinance systems and policies than others. Additionally, I believe that the cultures of certain countries have a significant impact on the level of success of microfinance in those countries regarding increasing the social and financial standing of women. I conclude with a discussion of how microfinance institutions and government policy can help women create better lives for themselves and their families.


Senior thesis.

Included in

Economics Commons