PMMA-12583 Bayesian Spatial-Propensity Score Matching Evaluation of the Regional Effects of Microfinance in Bolivia


Banerjee et al. (2015) presented the results of six randomized evaluations that led them to conclude that micro-credit does not have a transformative impact on poverty and that little evidence of substantial effects on women's empowerment exist. We argue that even if no effects of micro-finance exist at the household/individual level, there still may be observable effects at the regional level due to the wider impacts of microfinance. A Bayesian Spatial-Propensity Score Matching estimator is proposed to measure these regional (spatial) treatment effects. The regional effects of microfinance in Bolivia were tested with this estimator, using census and household survey data. The results – conditional on the assumptions of the study– showed that microfinance was useful for poverty reduction and women’s-empowerment at the municipal level in Bolivia, thus suggesting that microfinance can be used to promote socio-economic development at the regional level.


Project leader: Rolando Gonzales

Project researchers: Joel Mendizabal | Maria Renee Guerra | Patricia Aranda

Scientific mentors: Luca Tiberti

Journal publication

Authors Co-Authors Title of paper Title of Economic Review Bibliographic references
Rolando Gonzales Joel Mendizabal, Patricia Aranda A Bayesian Spatial Propensity Score Matching Evaluation of the Regional Impact of Micro-finance Review of Economic Analysis

Volume 9, December 2017, pages 127-153

Working Papers

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
Is microfinance truly useless for poverty reduction and women empowerment? A Bayesian spatial-propensity score matching evaluation in Bolivia 2016-02-17 3237.32KB 0 1

Policy Briefs

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
Is it true that microfinance is useless in the pursuit of poverty reduction and female empowerment? The case of Bolivia 2016-05-04 405.19KB 0 0

Final report

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
2016-02-08 1216.26KB 0 0


Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
2014-07-03 642.66KB 3 1

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