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The public sector and the development of microfinance in Spain

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Purpose

– The study of the relationships between the public sector and the microfinance sector in Spain; through the analysis of the microcredit programs undertaken by the diverse governmental bodies, as well as their repercussion in the development of the microfinance sector.The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

– Details on the public policies analyzed have been mainly extracted from the web sites and annual reports of the agencies. Semi-structured interviews to members of the boards of most microfinance institutions (MFIs), as well as a database compiled by the authors on the MFIs and their clients had been used. As a theoretical reference, concepts within the institutional theory are applied.

Findings

– Financial services provided by governmental bodies to underprivileged are scarce, raising a lot of interest following its introduction, but with decreasing levels of realizations in recent years. Public policies have been found to influence in different ways the development and consolidation of the Spanish microfinance sector, although in general having feeble institutional impact.

Research limitations/implications

– The scope of the analysis, limited to only one European country.

Practical implications

– Suggested paths for further collaboration between governmental bodies and MFIs and other social organizations related to the sector.

Originality/value

– Focus on the public policies related to the microfinance sector in a developed country.
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Keywords: Developed countries; Institutional factors; Microfinance; Public policy; Spain

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departament d'Economia de l'Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: August 23, 2013

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