Erin Beck
University of Oregon

Erin Beck is assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on international development, microfinance, NGOs and gender-based violence in Latin America, with a particular focus on Guatemala. She is interested in how governmental and nongovernmental actors design institutions to enhance the wellbeing of populations marginalized on the basis of gender, ethnicity, and class, and how these institutions actually affect people’s lives on the ground. Her work has appeared in World Development, Latin American Politics & SocietyStudies in Comparative International Development, and Sociology of Development. Her book, How Development Projects Persist: Everyday Negotiations with Guatemalan NGOs is available from Duke University Press.


Articles by Erin Beck

  • Erin Beck

    When Failure is Hard to Recognize: Facing Hard Truths about Microfinance

    After decades of faith in the ability of tiny loans to transform people’s lives, quantitative research has revealed that microfinance rarely lives up to the hype. But in spite of their lackluster impact, microfinance projects have persisted – the question is, why? After seven years of observing various actors throughout the microfinance value chain, Erin Beck, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon, has an answer. She discusses how policymakers, MFI leaders, employees and even customers contribute to microfinance’s persistence.

    Impact Assessment
    business development, failure, lending, microfinance, research
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