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Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance Paperback – December 19, 2011
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"David Roodman has been the most consistent and articulate analyst of microcredit in recent years."—Muhammad Yunus, founder, Grameen Bank
About the Author
David Roodman is a research fellow at the Center for Global Development. He has been architect and manager of the Commitment to Development Index since the project's inception in 2002.
More About the Author
Roodman has been architect and manager of the Commitment to Development Index since the project's inception in 2002. The Index ranks the world's richest countries based on their dedication to policies that benefit the 5 billion people living in poorer nations; it is widely recognized as the most comprehensive measure of rich-country policies towards the developing world.
Roodman has written several papers questioning the capacity of common cross-country statistical techniques to shed light on what causes economic development. He co-authored a 2004 American Economic Review paper that challenged findings of World Bank research that aid works in a good policy environment. His non-technical Guide for the Perplexed builds on analysis of methodological problems and fragility in other studies. Among econometricians Roodman is best known for his computer programs that run in the statistical software package Stata; articles about them won him the inaugural Stata Journal editors' prize in 2012.
Roodman previously worked at the Worldwatch Institute, where he wrote three monographs on environmental issues, and one on debt, Still Waiting for the Jubilee: Pragmatic Solutions for the Third World Debt Crisis. He authored the book The Natural Wealth of Nations: Harnessing the Market for the Environment, which Foreign Affairs called "required reading for legislators around the world." The Japanese edition garnered him a selection as one of "The Outstanding Young Persons" of 2003 by the Osaka Junior Chamber, which led to an audience with the Emperor and Empress.
Roodman spent academic year 1998-99 on a Fulbright in Vietnam. He has never taken a course in economics or statistics.
Top Customer Reviews
The quick - and for most donors very disappointing - answer is that there is no convincing evidence that microcredit is an effective tool for bringing people out of poverty. There are many stories of people who have indeed worked their way out of poverty after accessing microcredit loans, but there are also many stories of people who have worked their way further into debt. According to the author, the most reliable research into the effectiveness of microcredit does not indicate any net positive effect on the incidence of poverty. Microfinance as a whole, however, particularly microsavings accounts, does provide a very useful means for the poor to manage their money.
Intuitively these findings make sense. In Western countries, poor people who save money tend to improve their lot, whereas poor people who max out their credit cards tend to stay poor. Poor people tend to borrow money more often to meet today's needs than to invest in high-return business enterprises. Finding food for today is a more pressing concern than repaying a loan tomorrow.
The surprising thing about the findings is that they tend to contradict the virtually unanimous voice of microcredit proponents over many years.Read more ›
Roodman has been the most consistent and articulate analyst of microcredit in recent years. I hope this book reaches a wide readership and brings lasting, universal improvements in financial services for low-income people. --Muhammad Yunus, founder, Grameen Bank, and winner, Nobel Peace Prize
At a time when the pendulum of public opinion on microfinance is swinging from exuberance to cynicism, Roodman's balanced, evidence-based assessment is a timely and seminal contribution. This is an essential read for practitioners, promoters, and critics of microfinance. --Sir Fazle Abed, founder and chair, BRAC
Due Diligence is the result of years of rigorous, fact-based analysis and deep thinking of the type microfinance sorely needs. Anyone interested in the future of financial inclusion should read Roodman's work. --Carlos Danel Cendoya, cofounder,Compartamos Banco
Due Diligence is the microfinance book that grown-ups have been waiting for, as complex and fascinating as its subject. Roodman brushes away the slogans and the oversimplified dogmas to uncover microfinance's long history and multifarious present. It's required reading for anybody who seeks to engage seriously with the questions of whether and how microfinance works. And best of all, it's a pleasure to read. --Felix Salmon, Reuters
Microfinance has more than its fair share of myths, both positive and negative. It's a field in desperate need of cool, rational, and evidence-based analysis, and David Roodman has proved that he is singularly capable of providing it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Personally, I have seen microfinance work, and I like Kiva. I found the book heavy-going, typical of an academic.Published 14 months ago by Andre Makovsky
I study economics and have always been interested in microfinance. David Roodman is an expert in this field and he writes wonderfullly. Worth reading!Published on January 7, 2014 by marymerry