Small Individual Loans and Mental Health in South Africa

In this evaluation, The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) worked with an anonymous microfinance lender to identify 787 rejected loan applicants who had been deemed “potentially creditworthy” by the institution. (Applicants had been either automatically approved or rejected under the bank’s normal application process.)

Within this sample of 787, this “bubble”, a randomly-selected subset of rejected applicants were assigned to be given a “second look” by one of the lending institution’s financial officers. These officers were not required to approve these individuals for loans, but they were encouraged to. (Thus, we can see that “take-up” in this case related to the financial officers approving applicants for loans.)


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). (2006). Small individual loans and mental health in South Africa. Retrieved from

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