• G210;
  • O160
  • microfinance;
  • mixture model;
  • Eastern Europe;
  • Central Asia

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) play a key role in many developing countries. Utilizing data from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, MFIs are found to generally operate with lower costs the longer they are in operation. Given the differences in operating environments, subsidies, and organizational form, this finding of increasing cost effectiveness may not aptly characterize all MFIs. Estimation of a mixture model reveals that roughly half of the MFIs are able to operate with reduced costs over time, while half do not. Among other things, we find that larger MFIs offering deposits and those receiving lower subsidies operate more cost effectively over time.