Microfinance is commonly regarded as a magic wand to improve the social
and economic status of a community by empowering women, enhancing
financial inclusion and literacy, and encouraging savings. Despite the
apparent success and popularity of microfinance there has been mixed
evidence on its effects on the social and economic wellbeing of the
In this review, an attempt is being made to synthesise the existing
literature relating to the impact of microfinance on the wellbeing of
the poor in the South Asian context. This assumes relevance for two
important reasons: (a) South Asia presents a heterogeneous set of
countries which went into large-scale microfinance programmes early on;
(b) it also provides an ideal setting as a group of countries ranging
from very-low-income to lower-middle-income countries. Furthermore,
systematic reviews attempting to synthesise conflicting evidence from
different regions are conspicuously absent in the South Asian context.
Sections deal with the rationale and objectives of the review, the
conceptual definitions of microfinance used and the outcomes on which
the review focuses. In addition, we discuss the methods used for
identifying the studies, the criteria for including the studies in the
review and the method adopted for synthesis of the studies.
Gopalaswamy, A.K.; Babu, M.S.; Dash, U. Systematic review of quantitative evidence on the impact of microfinance on the poor in South Asia. EPPI-Centre, SSRU, Institute of Education, University College London., London, UK (2015) 34 pp.