Journal of Microfinance / ESR Review


The changing environment in the nonprofit sector has subjected microenterprise programs to a new paradigm that emphasizes rationality principles. These principles ask practitioners to increase their outcomes while minimizing costs and to demonstrate that they are doing so with outcome-assessment measurements. This paper presents a case study of what happened to 11 microenterprise programs that adopted outcome assessment. Factors affecting the adoption of outcome assessment were changing norms in the nonprofit sector, demands from state legislators for information on program outcomes, and mandates from funders. A funding formula was implemented; program responses included going along, adopting practices to fit the formula, embracing outcome assessment as a way towards program improvement, and possibly eliminating ineffective programs. Unintended consequences and ways to avoid them are discussed.



Journal Title

Journal of Microfinance

Issue and Volume