|Résumé :||This thesis is made of two parts. Part I (Chapter 1 to 3) focuses on the ethical aspects of the current challenges in microfinance. Chapter 1 addresses the question of the place and importance of credit in development policies, through the debate on the right to credit. Chapter 2 and 3 then question the fairness of the interest rates charged by the microfinance institutions. Chapter 2 analyzes whether the fairness criteria depend on more basic principles of justice, such as Rawls’ principles described in A Theory of Justice (Rawsl, 1976). Chapter 3 then reviews some of the implicit and explicit definitions of fair interest rates and proposes an original methodology, with David Gauthiers’ contractuarian theory. It determines what a fair interest rate would be when lending to the poor.
Based on the results of the two first chapters, Part II (Chapter 4 to 6) focuses on the role of donors in microfinance. Chapters 4 and 5 use two original databases, of 67 and 100 MFIs respectively to study the impact of subsidies on the MFIs’ management, through their rating evaluation (Chapter 4) and MFIs’ performance and management decisions (Chapter 5). Chapter 4 will analyze the relationship between the quality of management, as rated by a specialized agency, and the amount of subsidies. Chapter 5 will study pricing policy, the clientele and the potential moral hazard of subsidized institutions. Concluding this analysis, Chapter 6 gives some guidelines on the use of donor subsidies, especially in their interaction with the new private commercial actors, such as investment funds.