Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Maurits van der Veen

Committee Members

Till Schreiber

Amy Quark


Microfinance consists of small loans or savings given in the form of microcredit to help foster the growth of small businesses and help those who do not have access to formal financial institutions. Scholarship is mixed on whether microfinance is successful or not in lifting people out of poverty, but microfinance has been shown to help individuals run more successful businesses. Microfinance loans are not distributed equally; some regions and countries receive far more loans than others. Additionally, women receive more loans than men. This research analyzes whether minority groups have equal access to microfinance loans; particularly whether ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities have the same access as their majority counterparts. No correlation exists between the ethnic, religious or linguistic fractionalization of a country and whether or not they receive loans. However, some countries received a surprisingly high or low number of loans compared to their population. Due to the lack of conclusive information from my cross-national analysis I choose to more closely examine India which has high levels of diversity and greater availability of microfinance data. When looking more closely at India’s states and districts to compare percent of the population that is Hindu to the percent of the population that have access to loans there is also no strong correlation. Unfortunately, not enough data exists to fully examine whether minorities have equal access to microfinance; these questions warrant further study.

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