To lift families out of poverty, most microfinance institutions (MFIs) target female borrowers. Yet a new field experiment in Sri Lanka suggests that MFIs are courting the wrong clients: “Poor urban men with high ability stand to benefit a lot from microfinance,” concludes David McKenzie, a senior economist at the World Bank and one of the study’s authors. After receiving large infusions of cash or equipment, women’s businesses on average did not become more profitable, t…

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