The Impact of Social Beliefs on Microfinance Performance

We apply a panel of 331 microfinance institutions from 37 countries to investigate the relationship between social beliefs and microfinance financial performance over the period of 2003-2011. We find that microfinance institutions in countries with higher levels of trust and more collectivist culture have lower operating and default costs and charge lower interest rates. These results provide the first large cross-country evidence that social beliefs are important determinants of microfinance performance.