Can Hope Elevate Microfinance? Evidence from Oaxaca, Mexico

Irvin Rojas, Profesor Investigador Titular de la División de Economía del CIDE, junto con Bruce Wydick y Travis J Lybbert escribieron el artículo Can Hope Elevate Microfinance? Evidence from Oaxaca, Mexico en la revista Oxford Economic Papers.



Recent evidence suggests that the average effects of microfinance on borrowers is more modest than previously claimed. We carry out an experiment to test whether an intervention designed to increase aspirational hope among borrowers can elevate microfinance impacts. In collaboration with a microfinance lender in Mexico, we produced a documentary featuring successful borrowers within the organization and designed and implemented a hope curriculum rooted in positive psychology (Snyder, 1994), which conceptualizes hope as aspirations, agency, and pathways. Bank officers incorporated this curriculum into their regular weekly meetings with a randomly treated half of 52 women’s savings and credit groups with 733 women over the course of one year. We find that the intervention modestly increased indices measuring both aspirational hope and microenterprise performance over this time period. The intervention significantly increased employment and plans to hire new employees. Increases in microenterprise sales and profits were positive but statistically insignificant.

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