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January 28, 2014

FAI's Greatest Blog Hits of 2013

By Laura Freschi

We’ve crunched the numbers and compiled the list of FAI’s most viewed posts of last year:

  1. U.S. Financial Diaries Launches Household Profiles
  2. What’s Next: Another Repayment Crisis? by Daniel Rozas
  3. FAI Video: A Conversation with Pascaline Dupas
  4. What’s Next? External Validity by Jonathan Morduch
  5. The Death and Life of Cash by Timothy Ogden
  6. FAI Video: Dean Karlan Discusses Commitment Savings Research
  7. Beyond Business: Rethinking Microfinance - Timothy Ogden and Jonathan Morduch in Foreign Policy
  8. What's Next: Five Factors – Beyond Mobile Money – that will make Financially-Inclusive G2P a Reality by Jamie Zimmerman
  9. "How Microfinance Really Works" - Jonathan Morduch in Milken Review
  10. Impact Evaluation of Compartamos Released by Alicia Brindisi

Although popularity on the Internet is always something of a mystery, we think this list does a decent job reflecting what was important to us in 2013. We’re happy to see so much interest in our ongoing research on the financial lives of low-income Americans with the US Financial Diaries project.

Our series asking “What’s Next” for microfinance seems to have exploited the perpetual fascination with prognostication, and it is interesting to look back and evaluate how predictions made a year ago—on whether new repayments crises could be avoided; whether randomistas would rise to the challenge of external validity; and whether more aid would be delivered by electronic payments—have fared. We experimented with different formats—interviews, video clips, and animation—to find good new ways to discuss good old academic research findings.

A few posts point to substantive articles we published in other venues: Jonathan and Tim’s Foreign Policy piece on the need to re-write the “story” of microfinance so it’s less about loans for small businesses and more about overall household money management; and Jonathan’s essay for the Milken Institute Review on recalibrating goals and expectations for microfinance in light of new evidence about its impact and profitability.

To conclude, here’s our list of FAI Staff Picks—posts that didn’t win the Internet popularity contest, but we think deserve a second look for telling stories and drawing conclusions that are counterintuitive or different in some way from the usual rhetoric around financial inclusion and microfinance.

  1. Sorry, Cash Only: Returning to the World of the Banked by Alicia Brindisi (this series technically concluded in January 2014, but we’re making the rules here)
  2. Who Will Pay for Financial Inclusion? by Timothy Ogden
  3. FAI 101: Moral Hazard and Microinsurance
  4. How Microcredit Went Global by Jonathan Morduch
  5. Under-savers Anonymous: A US Chapter? by Julie Siwicki

Thank you for reading in 2013! And if there are topics you want to see covered in 2014, let us know in the comments.

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