News Archive

August 17, 2021 - New working paper

WP-CEBRIG: N°21-014


Crowding-In or Crowding-Out? How Subsidies Signal the Path to Financial Independence of Social Enterprises

In today’s multisector configurations, there is little clarity about whether and how public and private subsidies influence social enterprises’ pursuit of financial stability. We address the strategic role of donors in the social-business life cycle whereby social enterprise start-ups rely on subsidies, while mature social enterprises strive for independence from donors. To address the “missing middle,” we develop a typology of subsidy instruments and an intermediary signaling model to clarify how subsidies shape the evolution of outcomes for social enterprises. We argue that source variation matters for certain instruments like corporate intangibles and governmentally subsidized credit guarantees, which trigger crowding-in effects and attract commercial partners, while preventing perverse crowding-out effects, such as soft budget constraints. To illustrate this commercialization story, we draw upon a microfinance case study, demonstrating how public and private donors can induce crowding-in and crowding-out effects. In short, our subsidy typology helps unpack the signals that public and private subsidies send to commercial funders of social enterprises and how they shape the path to future financial independence.


June 25, 2021 - New publication

The Activity Report 2020 is available ! 

May 10, 2021 - New working paper

WP-CEBRIG: N°21-005


"Women in the boardroom: A bottom-up approach to the tickle-down effect" 


This paper argues that role modeling can explain the impact of boardroom gender diversity on corporate performance. It theorizes that female workers are boosted by female leadership, gain increased motivation, and achieve greater productivity, thereby making their female directors more effective. We test this bottom-up approach to the trickle-down hypothesis on data hand-collected among local cooperatives providing microcredit in Senegal. All the organizations surveyed are similar and small, which allows us to use a homogenous performance metric. All of them outsource their human resource management to the same third party, which mitigates the risk of endogeneity. The data cover over 100,000 triads composed of: gender dominance on the board, gender of CEO, and gender of credit officer. A better financial performance is achieved when the triad is gender-uniform—be it male or female—confirming the importance of role modeling and suggesting that the performance of female board members depends on the gender composition of the workforce.

March 25, 2021 - New working paper

 WP-CEBRIG: N°21-003


"Why microfinance institutions go digital: An empirical analysis"

While the role of digital solutions to foster financial inclusion and the development of the microfinance sector are widely acknowledged, questions concerning the variation in the ability and willingness of microfinance institutions’ (MFIs) adoption of these tools remain unanswered. This paper studies the determinant of the use of digital support solutions in the microfinance sector by using a global sample of MFIs derived from a survey by YAPU Solutions on rural lending and IT solutions. We discover the evidence that suggests the adoption of these tools is consistent with the social performance of MFIs. Furthermore, the results of the study indicate that the profitability of the institutions is associated with a larger application of digital support solutions. Macroeconomic factors, the development of the country in which the institution is located, also impact MFIs’ decisions regarding integrating digital solutions into their services and internal operational processes. 

February 08, 2021 - New working paper

 WP-CEBRIG: N°21-001


"Feasible Institutions of Social Finance: A Taxonomy"

 This paper unpacks the continuum of social finance institutions (SFIs), ranging from foundations offering pure grants to social banks supplying soft loans. The in-between category includes under-researched “quasi-foundations” granting loans requiring partial repayment. We develop a model under which SFIs maximize their social contribution arising from financing successful social projects, under a budget constraint dictated by their funders. Our model determines the feasibility of each SFI category and reveals that quasi-foundations are efficient and adapted to environments with low market rates. Finally, we show that value-based unconditional reciprocity from SFI borrowers can elicit a so-called “hold-up” effect, whereby the SFI maximizing its social contribution charges a high interest rate to its loyal clients.

January 12, 2021 - EMP Recruitement Campaign

The EMP starts its 2021-2022 recruitment campaign!

The European Microfinance Programme (EMP) is pleased to inform you that its recruitment campaign for academic year 2021-2022 has started. The full programme and the application file are downloadable from the EMP website:

Launched in 2005, the EMP is co-organized by three universities: Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Université de Mons (UMONS) and Université Paris-Dauphine and four NGO partners: ADA, BRS, CERISE and SOS Faim. The courses take place in Brussels, on the premises of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB).

The EMP is designed by microfinance experts to offer a unique blend of theory and practice. The purpose of the programme is to develop future professionals in microfinance who will contribute to the strengthening of microfinance institutions worldwide, in accordance with the highest international standards.

Information regarding admission requirements and application procedures are available on the EMP website:



Monday, December 21, 2020


Job Position

Researcher for a study assignment relating to inter-enterprises mutual credit

The CERMi offers an 80% research position for a period of one year for a study assignment relating to inter-enterprise mutual credit in the Brussels-Capital Region. The project is being carried out as a subcontractor for Financité ASBL.

Deadline for applications, January 8, 2021



Monday, December 14, 2020



CERMi, ULB and UMons organizes the research seminar 

« The Future of Social Entrepreneurship »


This research seminar will be held online via zoom


Thursday, December 10, 2020


Press Article 




"Microcrédit : même bien intentionnée, la réglementation peut éloigner des objectifs sociaux"


 Thursday, December 03, 2020



CERMi member Tristan Caballero-Montes
is presenting the Brown Bag Seminar 

"Integrating Market Conditions into Regulatory Decisions on Microfinance Interest Rates: Does Competition Matter?"

Discussant: Bart d'Espellier
On Microsoft Teams



 Monday, November 02, 2020


New Working Paper 

WP-CEB: N°20-012


"The Regulation of Prosocial Lending: Are Loan Ceilings Effective?"

 Regulatory loan ceilings are commonly found in the prosocial lending sector, yet they can have unintended perverse effects. By mitigating the risk of adverse selection, loan caps catalyze co-financing arrangements between subsidized lenders and commercial banks. These arrangements can, in turn, crowd out the most vulnerable borrowers, i.e. those typically targeted by regulators. To assess this claim, we proceed in two steps. First, we build a theoretical model. Second, we test it, drawing on a rich hand-collected dataset on the clientele of an unregulated French microcredit provider that turned into a regulated institution following a shock affecting its funding sources. Using a difference-in-differences linear probability model with propensity score matching, we empirically confirm the theoretical prediction that the imposition of a loan ceiling will lead to missiondrift.


 Thursday, September 17, 2020



Delaram Najmaei Lonbani 

is presenting the Brown Bag Seminar

The performance of microfinance institutions: An analysis of the local and legal constraints 

Discussant: Marek Hudon 


 Tuesday, September 01, 2020



Discover our 16th CERMi Newsletter!


What you'll find in this edition :

Coming events at CERMi

Recent events at CERMi

Awards and prizes

Recent publications by CERMi members


 Thursday, May 07, 2020




  The Activity Report 2019 is available ! 


Tuesday, January 21st, 2020



CERMi (ULB) organizes the research seminar

"The Support Fonction of Social Entrepreneurial Ecosystems" 

by Nicolay DENTCHEV (VUB, BE)

This research seminar will be held at 2.30pm at ULB.


 Wednesday, November 27, 2019



CERMi (UMons) organizes the research seminar

"Poverty through the lenses of Financial inclusion: Evidence from Armenia"

by Knar KHACHATRYAN (American University of Armenia)

This research seminar will be held at 3.30pm in the Seminar room 206P of Université de Mons (UMONS), Warocqué School of Business and Economics.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019




Discover our 15th CERMi Newsletter (October 2019)


What you'll find in this edition :

Coming events at CERMi

Recent events at CERMi

Awards and prizes

Recent publications by CERMi member


Monday, September 23, 2019



CERMi is happy to announce that CERMi member Dr. Simon Cornée (University of Rennes 1) has successfully obtained the highest French university degree named HDR (habilitation à diriger les recherches) under the title “Social Finance: value, capital, and governance [Finance sociale: valeurs, capital et gouvernance]”.

The Committee included: Pierre-Yves Gomez (EM Lyon Business School), Benedetto Gui (Sophia University Institute), Marthe Nyssens (University of Louvain), Sébastien Pouget (Toulouse School of Economics), Hélène Rainelli-Weiss (University of Rennes 1), and Jean-Laurent Viviani (University of Rennes 1).


 Thursday, September 19, 2019



CERMi (ULB) organizes the research seminar

“The gender of debt and the financialisation of development. Insights from rural southern India”

by Elena Reboul (IRD-Cessma, French Institute of Pondicherry)

This research seminar will be held at 3.00pm in the Seminar Room R42.2.110 of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB, Brussels) on 25th of September.


Monday, August 26, 2019



Patrick Reichert, former CERMi PhD student at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université libre de Bruxelles, was recently recognized for his doctoral work on social finance by Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, publisher of the largest collection of international business and management journals, and EFMD, an international not-for-profit membership organisation with over 900 members from academia, business, public sector and consultancy. His work was one of 27 doctoral theses awarded highly commended status from more than 250 submissions. The Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards recognize the best doctoral research across ten categories, of which Patrick’s work was selected for the finance category sponsored by Managerial Finance.

Patrick’s work examines the tensions that a double bottom line approach places on social enterprises and the funding mechanisms that are used to scale up social enterprises with the ultimate aim of attracting commercial private capital. The constructs developed across the chapters inform the general debate on social finance by identifying the conditions in which financial and social returns can be generated simultaneously. Practically, the dissertation provides a better understanding of the mechanisms used in social finance and aims to show where compromise between donors, investors and social enterprises should be expected. His first chapter, A meta-analysis examining the trade-offs in microfinance, is out now in Oxford Development Studies where it was recently awarded the 2017/18 Sanjaya Lall Student Prize for the best article written by a PhD student in the last two annual volumes of the journal. Another chapter, What is a fair level of profit for social enterprise? Insights from microfinance, is forthcoming in the Journal of Business Ethics. Patrick’s thesis was carried out under the joint supervision of Ariane Szafarz and Marek Hudon. Jury members include fellow CERMi members: Begoña Gutiérrez-Nieto, Marc Labie and Gregor Dorfleitner.

Patrick Reichert is currently a Research Fellow in Social Innovation at the elea Chair for Social Innovation at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland where his research focuses on impact investing, entrepreneurial finance and social innovation.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Public Thesis Defense 

“Microfinance and Financial Inclusion: Facing some Key Challenges”

Laure RADERMECKER, CERMi PhD student, will publicly defend her PhD thesis on August 28, 2019, at the University of Mons (UMONS).

Under the supervision of Professor Marc LABIE (UMons, ULB, BE).


Wednesday, July 10, 2019



We are proud to announce that the book “A Research Agenda for Financial Inclusion and Microfinance”, edited by Marek Hudon, Marc Labie and Ariane Szafarz, has been published by Edward Elgar.

 Drawing on renowned experts in microfinance and financial inclusion, this Research Agenda sheds much-needed light on this multifaceted challenge and points the way ahead for future research. Providing a critical and multidisciplinary approach to  research in microfinance and financial inclusion, the authors provide a state-of-the-art overview of current scholarly knowledge on the provision of financial services to disadvantaged populations worldwide. Reviewing the literature on the subject from the fields of economics, management science and development studies, they discuss the limitations and challenges of current research and chart avenues for future developments (find more information on:


 Thursday, June 11, 2019



CERMi UMons organizes the research seminar

Organizing logics multiplicity in hybrid organizations – the role of organizational culture

by Dr. Alexander Pinz (University of Mannheim)


 Monday, June 01, 2019





  The Activity Report 2018 is available!








Friday, January 11, 2019




Valentina Hartarska





CERMi is proud to announce that the 2019 Warren Samuels Prize was awarded to the article “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth: The Conflicting Impacts of Subsidies and Deposits on the Cost-Efficiency of Microfinance Institutions” authored by Anastasia Cozarenco (Montpellier Business School, France, and CERMi), Valentina Hartarska (Auburn University, USA) and Ariane Szafarz (ULB, SBS-EM, Centre Emile Bernheim, and CERMi,

The Warren Samuels Prize is awarded by the Association for Social Economics (ASE) to a paper, presented at the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) Meetings, that best exemplifies scholarly work that is of high quality, is important to the project of social economics, and has broad appeal across disciplines.

The rewarded article ( evaluates how subsidies affect the cost-efficiency of microfinance institutions (MFIs) while accounting for endogenous self-selection into the business models of credit-only versus credit-plus-deposit MFIs. The findings suggest that unsubsidized credit-plus-deposit MFIs have achieved optimal capacity and therefore constitute the most cost-efficient group of institutions. In addition, the unsubsidized credit-only MFIs are the farthest away from their minimum cost. Between the two polar cases, there are subsidized institutions, among which the credit-only ones are closer to optimal capacity. The results reveal the redundancy between subsidization and deposit-taking in microfinance. Combining funds from donors and depositors tends to harm cost-efficiency.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018




Discover our 14th CERMi Newsletter (September 2018)


What you'll find in this edition :

Coming events at CERMi

Recent events at CERMi

Awards and prizes

Recent publications by CERMi member



Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Public Thesis Defense 


“Human Resources in Social Enterprises: The Case of Microfinance Loan Officers”



Cécile Godfroid, CERMi PhD student, will publicly defend her PhD thesis on August 31, 2018, at 3.30pm at the University of Mons (UMONS). The defense will be held in room Hotyat.





Thurdsay, April 26, 2018

Doctoral Scholarship in Entrepreneurship

and Behavioral Finance


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Activity Report 2017 is available! 





Thursday, February 15, 2018

CERMi is proud to announce that Ephrem Niyongabo, former PhD student, joined the World Bank since February 15, 2018 as Economist for Burundi based in Bujumbura, within the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment (MTI) Global Practice, East Africa Unit.

Ephrem Niyongabo successfully defended his PhD Thesis in Economics and Management on January 2011, at the Warocqué School of Business and Economics (CERMi - University of Mons).

Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked as Expert Advisor to the Board in charge of Monetary Policy and Financial Markets at the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (November 2015 to mid-February 2018); as Senior Research Economist in Private Sector Development, Regional Integration and Trade Policies at the Institute for Economic Development in Burundi (May 2011 and October 2015); and as consultant and researcher for national and international institutions operating in Burundi (e.g. AfDB, UNDP, ACBF, EU, BTCCTB).

Congratulations to him!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Public Seminar:

"Corporate Governance in Microfinance"

Muluneh Hideto Dato, CERMi PhD student, will present his Public Seminar on February 1, 2018, at 2.00pm at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB, Brussels). The seminar will be held in room R42.2.110.

The Public Defense will be held on February 8, 2018, at University of Agder (Norway).

Thursday, December 14, 2017

CERMi is proud to announce that Carolina Laureti, who did her PhD at CERMi and a Postdoc both at UC Berkeley and at CERMi, will be a Lecturer at the University of Groningen (Department of Economics, Econometrics, and Finance) in The Netherlands, starting from January 15, 2018. Congratulations to Carolina!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Call for papers for a special issue in Journal of Business Ethics on The Ethics of the Commons. Guest Editors: Helen Haugh, Marek Hudon (CERMi co-director), Camille Meyer (CERMi former PhD Student and current Associate Researcher) and Ana Maria Peredo. 

More information here

Submission deadline: 15 December 2018

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CERMi is pleased to announce that Camille Meyer, a Former CERMi PhD student, has received from the FIR-PRI AWARDS Finance and Sustainability the Best PhD Thesis 2017 Award for his thesis "Social Finance and the Commons". For information:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

CERMi is pleased to announce that the first e-learning on Green Microfinance is now online on the  e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group webpage:

The e-learning provides an introduction to the various dimensions of green microfinance and it presents, in an interactive way, some of the existing tools, projects and research results in this innovative sector of inclusive finance. The e-learning is addressed to all stakeholders, including researchers and practitioners, interested to know more on the green side of inclusive finance. Some exercises and an interactive quiz are also proposed. 

We are proud to announce that the e-learning on Green Microfinance has been developed by CERMi associate researchers: Marion Allet and Davide Forcella for University Meets Microfinance.

The e-learning is freely available. To receive login and password, please email e-MFP at:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

CERMi is pleased to announce that Cécile Godfroid, a CERMi PhD student at University of Mons (UMONS), has received from ADA the Best Research Paper Award at the Research Meets Africa (Addis Abeba, ET) for her paper "Relationship  Lending in Microfinance : How does it Impact Client Dropouts?". 

For information:

Monday, September 18, 2017

New article in Oxford Development Studies by CERMi researchers Marc LABIE, Carolina LAURETI, and Ariane SZAFARZ:

"Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioural Perspective on Microfinance Product Design"

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Discover our 13th CERMi Newsletter (September 2017)!


What you'll find in this edition :


  • Coming events at CERMi
  • Recent events at CERMi
  • Awards and prizes
  • Recent publications by CERMi members

Monday, August 28, 2017

Public Thesis Defense: 

“Complementary Currencies and Environmental Sustainability”


Hélène Joachain, CERMi PhD student, will publicly defend her PhD thesis on September 4, 2017, at 4.00pm at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB, Brussels). The defense will be held in room R42.2.110


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CERMi is pleased to announce that Muluneh Hideto Dato, a CERMi PhD student, has received from the European Microfinance Platform the Best PhD Paper Award at the 5th European Research Conference on Microfinance (Portsmouth, UK) for his paper "Association between Microfinance Social Rating Scores and Governance Structure: A Global Survey."


Muluneh Hideto Dato is doing his PhD in Management Sciences under the joint supervision of Prof. Marek Hudon at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, and Prof. Roy Mersland at University of Agder (UiA), Norway. He benefits from a fellowship from the Marie-Christine Adam Foundation (ULB) and the University of Agder (UiA). For information:


Thursday, June 8, 2017



CERMi (ULB) will organize together with CIRTES (UCL) and CREM (Université de Rennes 1) two workshops on social finance on 3 July 2017. These workshops will be organized in Louvain-La-Neuve as part of the Transdisciplinary Forum of the EMES research network conference.

More information and registration here


Tuesday, May 23, 2017


  Doctoral Fellowship on Social Economy & Common Goods Management


Monday, April 3, 2017

Public Thesis Defense: 

Social Finance and the Commons


Camille Meyer, CERMi PhD student, will publicly defend his PhD thesis on April 21, 2017, at 2.00pm at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB, Brussels). The defense will be held in room AW1.121.


Monday, April 3, 2017

The Activity Report 2016 is available! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Marek Hudon, CERMi’s Co-director, has been appointed as member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Business Ethics in March 2017.

The Journal of Business Ethics is the leading journal in the field of business ethics. It belongs to the Financial Times list of top journals in management sciences.

Congratulations to Marek Hudon for this prestigious appointment!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Our former PhD student, Eddy Balemba Kanyurhi, has received a postdoctoral fellowship ELAN 2017 from ARES (Académie de Recherche et d' Enseignement Supérieur).

Congratulations to him!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Public Thesis Defense: 

“Essays on Intra-household Decision-making, Gender and SocioEconomic Development”

Rama Lionel Ngenzebuke, CERMi PhD student, will publicly defend his PhD thesis on February 21, 2017, at 12.00pm at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB, Brussels). The defense will be held in room R42.2.103.

Friday, February 17, 2017

New article in The Journal of Development Studies by CERMi researchers Supriya GARIKIPATI, Isabelle AGIER, Isabelle GUÉRIN, and Ariane SZAFARZ:

"The Cost of Empowerment: Multiple Sources of Women’s Debt in Rural India"

Friday, February 17, 2017

New article in The Journal of Development Studies by CERMi researchers Supriya GARIKIPATI, Susan JOHNSON, Isabelle GUÉRIN, and Ariane SZAFARZ:

"Microfinance and Gender: Issues, Challenges and The Road Ahead"

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A new free online course (MOOC) by Marek HUDON (Co-director of CERMi) on the commercialization of social enterprises and microfinance. Here is the link to the teaser and registration page:

Friday, February 3, 2017

New article in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly by CERMi researchers Bert D’ESPALLIER, Marek HUDON, and Ariane SZAFARZ:

"Aid Volatility and Social Performance in Microfinance"

Monday, December 19, 2016

An interview on the Microfinance Gateway (in French) with a CERMi researcher, Davide Forcella: "Pourquoi et comment aller vers une microfinance verte?"


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Offre d'emploi - Chargé(e) de recherche sur la Co-création d'outils d'échanges citoyens pour une résilience urbaine à Bruxelles



Friday, November 25, 2016

International Seminar on Social

and Community Entrepreneurship

Brussels, December 6, 2016



Monday, October 17, 2016

Call for applications

One-Year PhD Fellowship (Seed Financing)

on Microfinance and SME Finance in Europe


Thursday, October 6, 2016

New article in Applied Economics Letters by CERMi researchers Carolina LAURETI and Ariane SZAFARZ:

"The Price of Deposit Liquidity: Banks versus Microfinance Institutions"

Monday, October 3, 2016

Post-doctoral Fellowship on Crowdfunding





Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Discover our 12th CERMi Newsletter (September 2016)!

What you'll find in this edition :

  • Coming events at CERMi
  • Recent events at CERMi
  • Awards and prizes
  • Recent publications by CERMi members


Friday, September 16, 2016

Annabel Vanroose, who did her PhD and Postdoc at CERMi, is now Associate Professor in Development Finance at University of Stellenbosch-Business School in Cape Town, South Africa. Congratulations!

Friday, May 27, 2016

New article in Journal of Economic Issues by CERMi researchers Simon CORNÉE, Panu KALMI, and Ariane SZAFARZ:

"Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking: Evidence from Europe"

Thursday, April 21, 2016




CERMi and Université de Rennes 1 co-organize a workshop on:

 « Recent Advances in Social Finance ».

It will be held in Rennes on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

Download the programme

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Activity Report 2015 is available! 


Monday, April 18, 2016

CERMi is pleased to announce the publication of the last edition of the Revue Tiers Monde on  “Financial Inclusion: Helping the Poor or Serving the Financiers?” edited by F. Doligez, J. Bastiaensen, F. Bédécarrats and M. Labie. 


Friday, January 8, 2016

Our former PhD student Eddy Balemba Kanyurhi was appointed Associate Professor by the Board of Directors of UCB, since December 31, 2015.

Congratulations to him!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Simon CORNÉE (University of Rennes 1, France, and CERMi), Panu KALMI (University of Vaasa, Finland), and Ariane SZAFARZ (ULB, SBS-EM, CEB and CERMi, Belgium) are the recipients of the 2016 WARREN SAMUELS PRIZE for their paper "Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking:  Evidence from Europe" presented at the ALLIED SOCIAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATIONS (ASSA) meetings in San Francisco (January 2016).

The Warren Samuels Prize is awarded by the Association for Social Economics to a paper, presented at the ASSA meetings, that best exemplifies scholarly work that is of high quality, is important to the project of social economics, and has broad appeal across disciplines.

To download the paper:

For more information on the Warren Samuels Prize:

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Crises of Microcredit - Book coverThe Centre for European Research in Microfinance (CERMi) is proud to announce the release of the book The Crises of Microcredit (London: Zed Books, 2015), edited by Professors Isabelle Guérin, Marc Labie and Jean-Michel Servet, all associated with CERMi, as the outcome of the research project “Microfinance in Crisis”... (read more)