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Microfinance beyond self-employment: Evidence for firms in Bulgaria

Erhardt, Eva (2017): Microfinance beyond self-employment: Evidence for firms in Bulgaria. Forthcoming in: Labour Economics (2017)

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Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the impact of microfinance on job creation beyond self-employment. We examine wage-employment effects for a typical program in Eastern Europe with average loan sizes that are considerably above what has been studied so far. We apply propensity score matching extended by a difference-in-differences estimator to panel data from an individual-lending program to firms in Bulgaria. Our results indicate that microcredit has very positive effects on job creation. Participating firms have on average 2.5 (or 33 percent) more employees two years after receiving a microcredit than matched non-participants. This strong effect seems to be related to a certain loan size threshold necessary for positive impacts to unfold. Effects are largest for the smallest firms, supporting findings from other studies that small firms are more constrained by credit than large firms. Investigating dynamic effects for up to six years after treatment, we furthermore show that effects are long lasting.

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