1. Microcredit Impact: One way to judge the impact of microcredit is randomizing access. Another way is to see what happens when microcredit is suddenly taken away. There are two new papers that use the latter approach based on the sharp reduction in lending that ensued from the Andhra Pradesh crisis in 2010 (has it really been that long ago?) by Emily Breza and Cynthia Kinnan, and Banerjee, Breza, Duflo and Kinnan. BK find decreases in wages, wage earnings and consumption concentrated among poorer borrowers when microcredit goes away. BBDK find sharp heterogeneity in effects on "gung-ho" entrepreneurs and "reluctant" entrepreneurs of access to and then loss of access to microcredit. Of course, that leaves the question of the underlying differences between gung-ho entrepreneurs and reluctant entrepreneurs. Could it be aspirations? You should ask Stefan Dercon or Bruce Wydick about that.
2. Income Volatility: This week, the Aspen Institute launched the website for the Emerging Prosperity Impact Collaborative, an ongoing effort to draw attention to emerging economic issues that affect household financial security in the United States. The first year is focused on income volatility, inspired in part by the US Financial Diaries. EPIC has an overview paper, some cool data viz, and videos (some better, some worse) of researchers and practitioners discussing income volatility and its effects.