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Performance of microfinance institutions in Europe—Does social capital matter?

Gabriela Chmelíková, Annette Krauss and Ondřej Dvouletý ()

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2019, vol. 68, issue C

Abstract: This paper investigates performance drivers of microfinance suppliers in Europe. As such suppliers, in contrast to advanced microfinance suppliers in developing economies, typically focus on uncollateralized microcredit services to individuals at the margins of society and of labor markets, we draw on the theory of social capital and empirically investigate the role that social capital may play in the overall performance of European microfinance suppliers. We build a unique, unbalanced panel data set of 302 microfinance service providers in Europe covering the years 2008–2015, and measure their performance in terms of credit risk, financial and social performance, and efficiency. Pursuing an econometric approach, we test a series of hypotheses using various measures of conditions conducive to building social capital on both the institutional and the country level, such as the client base of a microfinance supplier and the level of cultural fractionalization in a society. Our findings confirm that a higher intensity of social capital is positively associated with all areas of the performance of microfinance suppliers in Europe. Our conclusions could help in the design and launch of microfinance institutions in those European countries in which microfinance markets are developed not at all or only to a very limited extent. Our paper thus contributes to the nascent literature on microfinance in developed economies by applying and extending the theoretical framework and empirical models on social capital and microfinance that were originally elaborated for developing economies.

Keywords: Microfinance institutions; Social capital; Social performance; Financial performance; Efficiency; Regional economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G21 G23 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2018.11.007

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