Microcredit Put to the test

A new study finds that small loans do benefit the poor, but in unexpected ways

ONCE illustrated with pictures of happy village women engaged in lending circles, and celebrated as an ideal charitable activity that helps people earn their way out of poverty, in recent years microcredit has become increasingly controversial. Critics have argued that giving poor people a small affordable loan is not in fact an effective way to help them escape from poverty. And the growth in loan volume has been driven lately by a bunch of for-profit microlenders who their critics say have motives that are anything but charitable.


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