The GiveWell Blog

Microfinance and cookstoves

Two interventions that command a lot of attention are microfinance (financial services, particularly small loans, for the very poor) and improved cookstoves (with the hope of reducing air pollution). We’ve recently seen a couple of helpful summaries of relevant research: David Roodman summarizes the most rigorous research on microfinance. There are now five randomized controlled… Read More

Review of Due Diligence, by David Roodman

Due Diligence is a new book on microfinance by David Roodman. We are fans of Mr. Roodman’s work in general (we’ve previously interviewed him for our blog, discussed his research and quoted him for a testimonial), so we were eager to read this book. We weren’t disappointed: it’s thorough, it examines the case for microfinance… Read More

Microlending debate: An example of why academic research should be used with caution

We often use academic research to inform our work, but we try to do so with great caution, rather than simply taking reported results at face value. We believe that if you trust academic research just because it is peer-reviewed, published, and/or reputable, this is a mistake. A good example of why we’re concerned comes… Read More

LAPO: Case study on due diligence by microfinance funders

Updated 10/19/10 to reflect new information, submitted by a Grameen Foundation representative, regarding encouraging developments on LAPO since mid-year. To be clear, we stand by the main message of this post, which is not about LAPO’s current situation but about its funders’ and partners’ behavior over the last several years, prior to the public controversy… Read More

New research and recommendations for microfinance

Over the past few months, we’ve been continuing our search for outstanding microfinance organizations (in addition to the one we’ve already identified). Below are the results. Overview of our process and key questions In brief, our take on microfinance is that offering credit and other financial services is likely an effective way to improve people’s… Read More