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    (Mis)use of evidence in microfinance programming in the Global South: a critique

    Duvendack, M. and Maclean, Kate (2015) (Mis)use of evidence in microfinance programming in the Global South: a critique. Contemporary Social Science 10 (2), pp. 202-211. ISSN 2158-2041.

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    Abstract

    This paper looks at the use of economic and social ‘evidence’ in debates on microfinance. Microfinance was originally inspired by small-scale women's savings and credit organisations. When its potential to become a financially sustainable, even profit-making, development intervention was recognised, microfinance underwent a ‘revolution’ that was to convert it into a much lauded development ‘panacea’. Microfinance's reputation has, however, been tarnished by reports refuting the evidential basis for claims made on its behalf. We trace the intervention's ascendance and the evidential basis on which microfinance was promoted. We argue, firstly, that the exclusion of qualitative evidence was not an epistemological imperative, but a political choice, and, secondly, that the large-scale quantitative evidence that did support the scaling up of microfinance was inadequate in terms of methodological rigour. In concluding, we place the example of microfinance within wider debates on evidence in development and argue that evidence can never be apolitical.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): evidence-based policy-making, microfinance, social science research methods, women's empowerment, social capital
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Research Centre: Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Kate Maclean
    Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2015 09:22
    Last Modified: 27 Jul 2019 21:40
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/13652

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