Micro-finance is a concept which has won its major proponent a Nobel prize. But it comes down to whether it is effective the empirical evidence has been scant. "Until now" writes Chris Blattman:
[D]oes microlending actually deliver on development and poverty alleviation?
Amazingly, we have almost no idea. There’s been little hard evidence to go on, even after 20 years of a global microfinance explosion.
Until now. A number of projects, many coming out of IPA or J-PAL, are starting to show experimental results. Continue reading.
For a less wonkish read (and listen) Blattman suggests this BBC report.