Does experience with agricultural loans improve farmers' well-being? Evidence from Benin

Nicaise Sheila M. Sagbo, Yoko Kusunose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of loans provided by Benin's largest microlender. Design/methodology/approach: A pipeline design and matching techniques contribute for identifying the causal effect. The loan treatment considered is loan experience. It includes program entry timing, take-up frequency and the amount obtained over six years. The study uses a cluster analysis to create comparison groups. Findings: Experience with agricultural loans has a statistically significantly positive effect on recipients' farm income, food security and women's empowerment. Though unusual, these positive results can be credited to the very low rate of loan repurposing and mostly to the lender's rigorous loan implementation strategy. Practical implications: The study results validate the hypothesis underlying development strategies that target women regarding loan programs. The study provides a simple yet valuable lesson for future credit impact evaluations: the context of the loan program as well as the evaluation indicators is essential. Social implications: This study’s findings suggest that microcredit, when offered judiciously and with support, can improve farmers' conditions. Originality/value: Given the relatively long period studied, the analysis has been innovative in defining loan treatment and creating reliable treatment groups. Also to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first of its kind in Benin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-519
Number of pages17
JournalAgricultural Finance Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The KfW funded the research in this publication through the German Development Institute (DIE). The authors would like to thank Michael Bruentrup and Anne Floquet for providing insight and expertise that considerably helped the research. The content is solely the authors' responsibility and does not necessarily represent the views of these persons, the KfW or the DIE.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Agricultural credit
  • Microcredit
  • Pipeline design
  • Propensity score matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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