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June 21, 2013

New & Noteworthy

By Alicia Brindisi

This week, experts in the field explore the pros and cons of mobile money, the relationship between migration and microfinance, and new strategies to social investment.

  • Maryann Bylander of the Migration Policy Institute explores the relationship between migration and microfinance and the growth of the “migra-loan” – a fusion of remittances and credit products.
     
  • This article in American Banker explores the potential effect of the Affordable Care Act on the unbanked should insurers require customers to pay via checking account and not electronic means.
     
  • Tina Rosenberg’s opinion piece in The New York Times reviews the potential pros and cons of the emerging Development Impact Bond, a new twist on Social Impact Bonds that are backed by development agencies or foundations.
     
  • Both FAI Affiliate Ignacio Mas and Susie Lonie discuss the gap between the high expectations of mobile money networks and the realities of implementation.
     
  • This Guardian piece offers an overview of social finance strategies aimed at helping small-scale farmers in the developing world.
     
  • While mobile money has seen success in places like Kenya, there are risks of opening channels to criminal activity like money laundering, argues Josh Meyer for Quartz.com.
     
  • A UK company is launching Randomise Me, an online tool for anyone to set up their own RCT. The vision is that Randomise Me will be the RCT equivalent of Survey Gizmo or Survey Monkey.
  • Researchers from the Univeristy of Michigan and Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala released results from an RCT on educational subsidies and migrant remittances. The study found that the subsidies (in the form of matching grants) led to increases in educational spending and higher private school attendance for youths is El Salvador connected to migrant study participants.
     
  • Barbara Magnoni recently asked if microinsurance "pays off for the poor” while also highlighting the work of the MILK Project.

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