Impact of savings groups on the lives of the poor

Dean Karlan*, Beniamino Savonitto, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher Udry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Savings-led microfinance programs operate in poor rural communities in developing countries to establish groups that save and then lend out the accumulated savings to each other. Nonprofit organizations train villagers to create and lead these groups. In a clustered randomized evaluation spanning three African countries (Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda), we find that the promotion of these community-based microfinance groups leads to an improvement in household business outcomes and women's empowerment. However, we do not find evidence of impacts on average consumption or other livelihoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3079-3084
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 21 2017


  • Empowerment
  • Microfinance
  • Resilience
  • Rural development
  • Savings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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