Leftist Politics and the Limits of Microcredit in Argentina

Ronald Ahnen

Abstract


The success of microcredit lending programs depends in part on the regulatory framework that policymakers create to support them. A fact that many microcredit analyses often ignore or overlook is that this framework is shaped by both ideological and partisan political considerations of policymakers. In Argentina, the Peronist governments of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner launched and supported a state-centered microcredit program characterized by strict loan conditions and direct state grants for capital and operational costs to existing non-profit organizations that were largely supportive of Peronism. Provinces and municipalities governed by anti-Peronists refused to participate. As a result, the National Microcredit Program has come to mimic past patronage based policies to a significant extent, engendering dependency on government resources, and thereby threatening its long-term viability. This article explores the impact of the left’s ideological and political project on microcredit policy, implementation, and outcomes in Argentina.

Keywords


Argentina; microcredit policy; leftist politics; microfinance; Kirchnerismo

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