Evaluation of an inclusive microfinance program in Madagascar on poverty and empowerment

Last registered on November 17, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Evaluation of an inclusive microfinance program in Madagascar on poverty and empowerment
Initial registration date
November 08, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 17, 2023, 7:47 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The research project presented here involves assessing the impact of a microcredit scheme for microentrepreneurs in Madagascar on improving the living conditions of beneficiaries and their families, and on the emancipation of women.

The microcredit scheme evaluated also includes savings services, a guarantee fund to secure credit, and compulsory micro-insurance (including a mutual health insurance scheme, coverage of hospitalization costs and optional psychosocial support).

In order to scientifically evaluate the effectiveness of microcredit in improving the living conditions of beneficiaries and empowering women, a randomized controlled study is being carried out, including two data collection phases 16 months apart. The aim of this research project is to contribute to the scientific literature and knowledge base on microfinance and its effects on beneficiaries and their families, with a particular focus on women entrepreneurs.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Boutin, Delphine and Nina Filipkowski. 2023. "Evaluation of an inclusive microfinance program in Madagascar on poverty and empowerment." AEA RCT Registry. November 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12468-1.0
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Experimental Details


The microfinance institution (MFI) evaluated has a high social impact. Its main objective is to "sustainably improve the living conditions of poor families", by primarily targeting families living on less than 2 dollars per day per person and meeting socio-economic and health criteria established by a social categorization tool called "family photo". It is mainly aimed at women (67%), and targets agricultural activities (70% of the portfolio) and activities linked to services and trade (23%). It supports its customers both economically and socially (via a social support service and a mutual health insurance scheme) to make families more resilient.
The MFI currently has over 17,000 borrowers, spread across 36 service points in the Hautes Terres region of Madagascar. The beneficiaries, traders and farmers, are generally populations excluded from productive credit, savings and economic advice, in both urban and rural areas. Several branches will be opening over the next few years. The MFI plans to develop new branches.

The MFI offers these beneficiaries the following services:
- Microcredit: Loans to finance income-generating activities are granted without any material collateral or prior savings.
- Savings : A mandatory saving account is opened during the duration of the credit. Beneficiaries can also save additional money on a voluntary saving account.
- Borrower training: the aim of this training is to provide beneficiaries with advice on how to improve the management of their activity (bookkeeping, family budget management, etc.).
- Social support: Social support provides solutions for families with difficulties relating to health, education, administrative documents, income or psychosocial problems (problems of domestic violence, children's schooling, access to contraception, lack of administrative documents, etc.). These activities mainly involve individual follow-up of families at home, drop-in sessions, workshops with children and teenagers, early-learning workshops for mothers and their youngest children, animation and awareness-raising sessions on social themes.
- Mutual health insurance: The mutual health insurance service is designed to provide a financial solution in the event of hospitalization for borrowing families. The mutual company offers different types of services to members, such as coverage of hospitalization costs, referrals, support and follow-up during hospitalization. Membership is compulsory for all beneficiaries.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Household economic conditions and women empowerment
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Household economic conditions will be measured by a series of indicator taking into account income, household spending, education, health, social inclusion and housing conditions.

Women empowerment is also composed of several indicators, agency, locus of control, decision-making power, financial autonomy and intimate partner violence.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We compare outcomes between a treatment group (beneficiaries of the microcredit program) and a control group (microentrepreneurs but not beneficiaries of the microcredit program), which we also compare over time, 16 months apart. The characteristics of the treatment and control groups will be analyzed to see whether the individuals in the two groups are similar.
The treated group is made up of beneficiaries who obtained their first or third loan between January and April 2022. They are part of the main agency of the IMF. Agency are selected on two criterias : accessibility of the site by car and number of borrowers .
The individuals in the control group are potential beneficiaries of the MFI who will not have access to microcredit for the duration of the evaluation. We use the fact that the MFI is currently expanding, and will extend in 2023, 2024 and 2025 to several other geographical areas. The people in the control group will therefore be potential future beneficiaries in the new areas targeted by the MFI. Some of them will eventually receive a microcredit based on the MFI's selection criteria. We use these same criteria to decide whether or not to include them in the sample. The MFI's future areas of intervention are well-defined, i.e. a person who wants to take out a loan but is not in the MFI's area of intervention will not be able to benefit from the program. This prevents contagion between neighborhoods. The MFI will not expand into these areas for the duration of the survey.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Using lists of beneficiaries provided by the IMF data collection on ongoing credits, we randomly select survey participants. Randomization is done in office by computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Two regions
18 agencies of the IMF for the treated
6 neighborhoods for controls
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
650 beneficiaries who obtained a first loan
650 beneficiaries who obtained a third loan
700 microentrepreneurs control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials