Research Summaries
Brief descriptions of masters, doctoral, project and other types of research on
informal, microcredit and non-conventional/alternative financial systems.

Researchers included:

  • P.O. Adeyi
  • Rein Dekker
  • Stephanie Janet
  • Gloria Lara
  • Hotze B. Lont
  • Simone Phillips
  • Tristi Nichols
  • Awuor S. Odaga
  • Jimmy Roth
  • Brenda Sinnott
  • Hari Srinivas
  • Ranjula Bali Swain
  • M. Titus
  • Dat Tran

  • Name: P. O. Adeyi
    Dept: Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Marketing
    University of Newcastle - upon - Tyne, UK


    Title: "The Contribution of the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund [ACGSF] to Agricultural Development During the Structural Adjustment Programme [1986 - 1996]."
    The major finding of this MSc dissertation is the confirmation of the fact that small - scale farmers are the major beneficiaries of the structural adjustment programme. Not even in one sector of all areas considered for loans were they left out. They had a substantial award of loans when the performance, even on state by state basis was examined; the small - scale farmers were in the fore-front when consideration for the crop and livestock loans were made, and this in terms of size and value.

    The significance of this findings lies in the fact that 60 - 80 percent of the farming population in nigeria are small - scale farmers.

    Key words: Central Bank of Nigeria, NACB, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, Small - Scale, Medium - Scale, And Large - Scale Farmers, Structural Adjustment Programmes
    Completion Date: October, 1996
    Name: Rein Dekker
    Dept: Department of Development Administration
    University of South Africa
    Title: "Transition to the cash economy: the design, description and analysis of a microfinance programme in indigenous San communities in western Botswana."
    The San are the original and indigenous population of the Kalahari desert. They are amongst the poorest of the rural poor in Southern Africa. Apart from poverty, cultural factors also mitigate against the San's succesful participation in a capitalist economy. The indigenous economy, build around risk aversion and social storage, may be ill equipped to deal with a market-based economic environment. In view of the Sans lack of social and economic self-sufficiency in a sedentary and monetised environment, the research aims to investigate whether a culturally sensitive and participatory development programme in the form of micro-credit and savings can contribute to increased individual and community assets as well as to the ability of San participants to handle the demands of a cash economy, thereby increasing their social and economic self-sufficiency.

    Key words: cultural transition, cultural survival, ethnicity, minorities, appropriate development, participatory action research, social storage, San, indigenous people, savings mobilisation, marginalisation, sharing economy, kinship, transition.
    Completion Date: 2001

     Name: Stephanie Janet
    Organization: UNICEF


    Title: "1) Microfinance: its impacts on Children and Women."
    Microfinance: its impacts on women and children; This study explore the type of impacts that microfinance can have on women and children. More specifically, it examines:
      the impact on women: women empowerment; women knwoledge of health, nutrition, and other basic social services messages
    • the impact on children: education (enrollment rates), health and nutrition; child labor;
    • the impact on the community: diffusion of knowledge, positive practices; etc.
    • the impact on income: additional income to spend on children's food, education and health.

    Title: "2) Microfinance in West Africa"

    Microfinance in West Africa (Focus on impacts on children and women)
    • Typology of existing schemes;
    • Specifics of West Africa;
    • Location of needs for microfinance in selected countries;
    • Impact studies.

    Key words: Children; Basic social services; West Africa (Francophone Africa); impact studies.
    Completion Date:

    Name: Ranjula Bali Swain
    Dept: Department of Economics
    Uppsala University


    Title: "The Agrarian Credit Markets, rate of interest and the collateral: Some Indian Evidence."
    In India, the agrarian credit markets are segmented into the formal and the informal sector. The role of different types of collateral in the segmentation of the credit market is being investigated.In addition, it is examined if the rate of interest of a loan taken from the informal sector is inversely related to (1) the marketability of collateral and (2) the wealth of the households. The analysis is based on the Rural Economic and Demographic Survey data collected from all over India, for 1981-82.

    Name: Gloria Lara
    Boston University


    Title: "Government Policy and the Informal Sector in Latin America: Towards a New Strategy for Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation."
    This thesis will have three major parts. The first, will expose the significance of the informal sector as a whole for the region; and the importance of appropriate state intervention in the informal sector and of taking it into account for general policy making. The second, will look at the experience of state intervention in the promotion of the microenterprise sector in Latin American countries to date, and will explore the question: what should Latin American governments do to effectively promote economic development through strategies which incorporate the microenterprise sector? Finally, the third section will conclude the thesis, with a note on the need for constant and active collaboration among the players in microenterprise development initiatives: the state, private institutions, and microenterprise representatives.

    Key words: government, policy, microenterprise, economic development, poverty alleviation, informal sector, Latin America, government strategy, impact, micro-finance.
    Completion Date: April 21, 1997

    Name: Hotze B. LONT
    University/Organization: Amsterdam School for Social-science Research


    Title: "Financial SHOs, Social Security, and Staate Involvement"
    At Java a wide variety of financial SHOs are popular, especially ROSCAs (arisan). Financial SHOs can perform a wide variety of functions. One of them is the insurance function. In this respect, financial SHOs can play a part in the social security fabric that people develop and maintain in order to cope with risks and uncertainties. (So far), the Indonesian government has not made efforts to use these institutions to develop a state social security system, this contrary to European governments in the 19th century. Why is this?

    Key words: financial SHOs, social security, collectivizing process, state, exclusion, micro-macro
    Completion Date: September 2000

    Name: Tristi Nichols
    Dept: Human Service Studies Department; Program Evaluation and Planning
    Cornell University


    Title: "Assessing the Effects of Credit Access and Program Participation: A Case Study of Kenya Women's Finance Trust (KWFT) in Karatina, Kenya."
    Kenyan Womens Finance Trust (KWFT) is a national private voluntary organization (PVO) that has been actively involved in facilitating credit delivery to rural women since 1984. By using a Grameen Bank or group lending approach, KWFT staff train groups of women to calculate monthly and weekly payments, given the interest and duration of payment, financial discipline, procedures for working with formal financial institutions. KWFT have four offices throughout Kenya, and presently maintains high repayment rates, ranging from 98% to 100%.
    The inquiry was conducted at one of the largest KWFT field offices, based in Karatina, which services loans to over 1800 women. The town of Karatina is considered rural, but it is not isolated, and it is equipped with a famous, large outdoor market, serving as the central trading zone for farmers residing in the Mount Kenya region.
    The underlying crux of the research was to understand a) how the KWFT program has affected the household consumption of program clientele, who are in the process of repaying their second loans; and b) what the nature of the perceived experiences reported was, while repaying the loan, after considering the working, family, and KWFT organizational cultural reality. Hence, the central research question was: What household conditions have been altered as a result of increased capital invested in business ventures, and how have the program clientele perceived and reasoned those changes?
    Mixed methods were used to uncover the information to address the research question(s). The research used a survey to collect household consumption data from two groups: an experimental group, comprised of those repaying their second loans exclusively, and a comparison group, consisting of new members who have not been exposed to the program or gained access to credit. Further, qualitative methods were used to gather information on the nature of the perceived experiences that some clientele report, while repaying their loans.

    Key words: Informal sector, program evaluation, household consumption, Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), criteria for data quality, empowerment, data collection methods, and mixed methods.
    Completion Date: Completed on August, 1997

    Name: Awuor S. Odaga
    Dept: Graduate Program in Environmental Science
    State University of New York-Syracuse
    Title: "The Magic Key ? Microcredit Finance and the Environment"
    This masters thesis seeks to determine whether or not microcredit institutions in Sub Saharan Africa are incorporating within their lending practices concepts of environmental consciousness.

    Key words: Sub-Saharan Africa, Sustainable Development, Economic Development, Poverty, Intensification of Natural Resource Use.
    Completion Date: December 1997

    Name: Simone Phillips
    Dept. of Political Science, University of Tasmania


    Title: " Scaling Up Microcredit Enterprises"
    I am researching how beneficial microcredit enterprises have been in overcoming poverty and what is the capacity of microcredit enterprises to affect more general change. My research proceeds from questions raised at the Conference on Hunger and Poverty regarding the effect of governments and international organizations on NGOs and other civil society organizations, and the capacity of credit as an entry point for larger social change. The Microcredit Summit in Washington in February 1997 will be the focus of the "macro" dimensions of my thesis. I also plan to include a short case study of the Grameen Bank's experience of scaling up.

    Key words: Microcredit, Anti Poverty Strategies, Scaling Up, Microcredit Summit, Grameen Bank
    Completion Date: June 1997

    Name: Jimmy Roth
    Dept/Inst.: Institute of Development Policy and Management
    University of Manchester


    Title: "When is micro credit an appropriate rural development intervention"
    This research explores the conditions under which micro credit is an appropriate rural development intervention. The research is designed to assist credit agencies considering embarking upon rural micro credit projects in developing countries.
    Completion Date: October 1996

    Name: Hari Srinivas
    Dept: Social Engineering
    Tokyo Institute of Technology


    Title: "Development of a Finance Triangle Linking People's Organizations, NGOs, and Commercial Banks in Developing Countries"
    This doctoral thesis uses cases studies from countries in south and south-east Asia to develop a 'folding star' that incorporates commercial banks, NGOs and people's organizations as points in a triangle, with a host of other secondary and tertiary actors, to generate credit at the local level.

    Key words: microcredit, NGOs, banks, people's organizations
    Completion Date: July 1996

    Name: Brenda Sinnott
    Dept: Food Economics
    University College Cork, Ireland


    Title: "The Sucess or otherwise of Rural Financial Mobilisation In Less developed Countries; Effectivness of Savings clubs, Kapane Ward, Matebeland North, Zimbabwe in Adressing the development needs of the poor"
    This masters study, carried out while on field research in Zimbabwe, establised that an effective method of savings mobilisation in rural LDCs is through small self sustaining groups based at grass roots level. Such an organisation is the 'Self Help Development Foundation' in Zimbabwe. The organisation is run for and by the participants and addresses the true needs of the poor.

    Secondary research pointed to the failure of top-down, supply-led strategies that focused on cheap loans at concessionary interest rates. Failure was due to complexity of operartions, fungilbility of money on entering the household, low interest interest rates on loans and uneven didtribution of funds.

    Key words: Failure of Top down programmes. High Defalut rate. Loans seen as grants rather than credit. Large amount of loans siphoned off by larger farmers. Non participation of loan receipants in programmes. Inadequate information on borrowers. Self-sustaining Groups. Member participation at every level. Policies address the true needs of the members. Liqudity of organisation based on members own funds: Greater incentive to co-operate. First hand information of borrowers readily available. Peer pressure insures that all members co-operate.
    Completion Date: 1996

    Name: M. Titus
    Dept: Centre for Development Studies
    University/Organization: University of Bath


    Title: "The efficient handling of information and knowledge in building and maintaining financial services by Ngos and self help groups"
    No Abstract

    Key words: Asymmetrical information, Markets, New Institutional Economics, Learning and Organisation theory
    Completion Date: October 1997

    Name: Dat Tran
    Dept: National Centre for Dev Studies
    Australian National University


    Title: "Borrower transaction costs, credit rationign, and segmented market: A study in the rural credit market in Vietnam."
    Based on the data from a rural household survey in Vietnam, the dissertation attempts to examine the role of borrower transaction costs in a credit rationing mechanism, and in the segmentation of the rural credit market. There are al least two factors that are found to be the causes of high borrower transaction costs, formal credit rationing and the segmantation of the rural credit market: regulated lending interest rate, and the asymmetric information problem.

    Key words: transaction costs, borrower transaction costs, cash outlay, opportunity cost, ceiling interest rate, asymmetric information, effective interest rate, probit regression, elasticities, elasticities at means, mill's ratio.
    Completion Date: 1998

    Are you doing some interesting research on microcredit and related issues that should be listed here? Or know of someone? Please email the following details to the email address - - Name of the researcher, email address, University/Organization (including URL, if applicable); title/type of research, 20-30 word abstract, keywords, and completion date.

    Hari Srinivas -
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