Microfinance has been a staple of rural development policy for over three decades with significant governmental and private sector backing. From its origins in small-scale non-governmental initiatives, microfinance became institutionalised and globalised under the rubric of financial inclusion in the 1990s. Work within the critical agrarian studies tradition has been at the forefront of scrutinising the claims made about the transformational power of microfinance. Engaging both the paradigms of microcredit and microinsurance, this chapter highlights how empirical case studies within the field of agrarian studies has illustrated a wide range of evidentiary deficits and conceptual flaws within the paradigm of financial inclusion.
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