Socially disadvantaged groups and microfinance in India


About two-thirds of microfinance clients in India are reported to be in self-help groups (SHGs). We study the survival of members and groups and their differential access to credit using a census of SHGs created between 1998 and 2006 in 386 villages in eastern India. Households without land and those from disadvantaged castes exhibit higher attrition rates and smaller loans, but the main predictor of differential outcomes is education. Members with formal education receive larger loans and are more likely to remain a group member. Groups with no such members are also four times more likely to become inactive.