COVID-19 and the Unequalizing Infrastructures of Financial Inclusion in Tamil Nadu

Isabelle Guerin, Vincent Guermond, Nithya Joseph, Nithya Natarajan, Venkatasubramanian Govindan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on microfinance borrowers in Tamil Nadu, India. Through an examination of the social and financial infrastructures underpinning inclusive finance, the article demonstrates how the COVID-19 pandemic exposes the limits and exclusionary tendencies of the for-profit financial inclusion industry. The unequalizing breakdown of financial inclusion infrastructures during the pandemic prioritizes future revenue extraction over current livelihood needs, throwing hard-hit borrowers back on hierarchical informal financial and social infrastructures to cope with COVID-19-induced risk. Tracing the experiences of poor microfinance borrowers in Tamil Nadu, this article examines how COVID-19 is reshaping inclusive financial infrastructures in ways that reveal the dynamics of exclusion at the heart of financial inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-951
Number of pages24
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021

Cite this