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Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The idea that small loans can help poor families build businesses and exit poverty has blossomed into a global movement. The concept has captured the public imagination, drawn in billions of dollars, reached millions of customers, and garnered a Nobel Prize. Radical in its suggestion that the poor are creditworthy and conservative in its insistence on individual ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published (first published December 19th 2011)
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Tinea
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the book to read about microfinance, specifically microcredit.

Roodman is a fantastic journalist and a delightful writer. The book is exactly what I want in that 'one,' definitive book about a subject: thoroughly documented, broad but focused within each topic, well-organized and indexed for reference, and nuanced. Really, complexly, and carefully nuanced. He makes no claim in the book that is not stated exactly as he means, no broader nor more narrow. And that is what you need in what is
...more
Rúben
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very good and honest effort to scrutinize one of the hot topics in development. Conclusions are reasonable, and based on the view that the glass is half full. The book provides an interesting historical perspective of financial services to the lower income classes.
Alex Telfar
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The main question the author attempts to answer is: What is microfinance's social bottom line, its contribution to development?

The answer I got from the book was: it's unclear. David argues that microfinance can be viewed as development in 3 different ways; as escape from poverty, as freedom, or as industry building.

He goes on to show (in a reasonably verbose fashion) that the evidence for microcredit improving 1 and/or 3 (poverty and industrialisation) is lacking. And he speculates that
...more
Joe Zhang
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned 3 things

It is a very solid book. I learned these:
1) microfinance should be run like a business.
2) promotion of savings is more important than insurance which in turn is more important than credit. Trouble is, inflation is a disincentive.
3) I have been sceptical of quantitative models in social sciences. David Roodman has hammered that home elegantly.

Some thoughts:
My own microcredit firms collapsed one after another in China in the past nine years. I moved into bad-debt recovery and
...more
Paul
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
An important companion to the vast literature promoting microfinance, including Yunus's "Banker to the Poor" and other well-known works. As Roodman points out in logical detail, it turns out it is very hard to effectively help the global poor make economic progress. Capitalism (even with its rough edges), trade, commerce, and entrepreneurship are, I'm increasingly believing, the only way.
Milk Badger
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well-researched investigation of the impact microfinance has had on the world's poor. In short, Roodman concludes that funneling more foreign capital into microcredit endeavors at present is apt to fuel entrapment in debt rather than reduce poverty. The book's analysis is nuanced, though, and it is worth reading in full as Roodman deeply explores many dimensions of the topic.
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