The Political Economy of Microfinance
Responsible for the doctoral project: Dr. Aliya Khawari (doctorate 2015)
Funded by: Humer-Foundation for Academic Talent
Project duration: January 2009 – December 2011
Doctoral committee: Prof. Dr. Katharina Michaelowa, Political Economy, Department for Political Science (IPZ)/URPP Asia and Europe; Prof. Dr. Peter Finke, Ethnology, Institute of Ethnology/URPP Asia and Europe; Prof. Dr. Isabel Günther, Development Economics, NADEL/ETH (Zurich)
During the last decade, the microfinance movement has considerably changed the financial landscape around the world. It has inspired new banking concepts that have given hope to the poor households for the betterment of their livelihoods through their own efforts and labour. The project aims to shed light on the effect that the stakeholders actions and interests have on the success (or failure) of microfinance institutions worldwide. Such interests; being as diverse in nature as are the institutes or organisations that present or signify them; there is a significant need to systematically differentiate the different tiers and levels of the complex environment in which they normally operate. In particular, the institutional infrastructure of the country of operation (comprising of the bureaucracy, the law keeping agencies and the politicians), the informal societal structures (comprising of the form of society be it feudal, patriarchal or traditional, in addition local money lenders and or local commercial banks etc.) and also external agencies like the NGOs and the donor aid agencies, both at the local and at the national level need to be taken into account. It is the objective of this Ph.D. project to shed some light on this aspect. The project encompasses an econometric cross-country analysis complemented by two case studies both in South Asia, namely Pakistan and India.