Ideas42 was established in June 2008 by Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard University), Antoinette Schoar (MIT), Simeon Djankov (IFC), Eldar Shafir (Princeton), Jeffrey Kling (Brookings), and Michael Kremer (Harvard) as a Social Science Research and Development laboratory at Harvard University, with the goal of using scientific insights to design innovative policies and products, both domestically and internationally. The initial sponsors were Harvard University and IFC (World Bank Group). Recent research in psychology and economics has uncovered important, and sometimes surprising, drivers of human behavior. Ideas42 attempts to apply these insights to the understanding of the economic lives of people. Their innovations have produced new solutions in the areas of financial access for the poor, harvesting technologies in developing countries, the choice of health coverage in the United States, and educational opportunities in low-income communities.Read author's posts
Bindu Ananth is President of IFMR Trust, a private trust whose mission is to ensure that every individual and every enterprise has complete access to financial services. Ms. Ananth is a graduate of Economics, holds a Masters degree in Public Administration and International Development, has done coursework in graduate level microeconomics, macroeconomics, finance and development theory, and is Recipient of Harvard University Graduate Scholarship and World Bank Graduate Scholarship, and Harvard University Award for Outstanding Commitment to International Development. Her latest publication, co-authored with Dr. Nachiket Mor, is "Design Principles for Financial Inclusion, Economic and Political Weekly." Ms. Ananth has held varied leadership positions in ICICI Bank. She is the founder of Centre for Microfinance in IFMR.Read author's posts
Marcelo Ber is program manager of Microsaving - Social Financial Services at Ashoka. He is also a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at NYU Wagner.Read author's posts
Kerry Brennan is an Associate with the Search team at the Rockefeller Foundation. She was previously a Research Associate with the Financial Access Initiative, contributing content including blog posts and infographics. Kerry has worked on microfinance evaluations in Mexico with Innovations for Poverty Action and with the Social Protection team of the World Bank in the Philippines. She holds a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where she concentrated in Economics and Public Policy with a focus on issues in international development.Read author's posts
Alicia Brindisi is a Reserach Associate for Financial Access Initiative. Previously, she worked in the fields of public relations, international education, and international development for such organizations as Ruder Finn, International Baccalaureate, ThinkImpact, and UNDP. She has lived and worked in Ghana, Uganda, Colombia, the UK, and in 2005 received a government fellowship to work and study in Germany. Alicia received her BS in Communications from Boston University and her MA in International Affairs, with a concentration in Social and Economic Development, from The New School.Read author's posts
Jonathan Conning is Associate Professor of Department of Economics at Hunter College and a member of the doctoral faculty at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research has focused on the study of property rights, organizations and contracts in developing countries, emphasizing how asymmetric information, ownership inequality and costly contract enforcement problems interact to determine the nature of market and non-market resource allocation mechanisms in developing countries. His published work includes articles on financial intermediation, microfinance, social investment, land markets, the political economy of property rights reforms, and the design and evaluation of targeted poverty alleviation programs. Conning holds a PhD from Yale University and a BA from Swarthmore College, both in Economics.Read author's posts
Research Assistant, FAI
Elise Corwin is currently pursuing her MPA at NYU Wagner School of Public Service and working as a research assistant for the Financial Access Initiative. Previously, Elise worked as a research analyst in the Women, Children and Families program at RTI International. She contributed to projects including Financial Stability for Families with Young Children and several federally funded national program evaluations focused on low-income families.Read author's posts
Aparna Dalal works for the Facility Knowledge Team. Prior to this, she was a management and technology consultant with Deloitte and then the Director of Special Projects at the Financial Access Initiative where she led its microinsurance research initiative. Aparna has a MPA in international development from New York University and a BBA from the University of Texas.Read author's posts
Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, Compartamos Banco
Carlos Danel is Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Compartamos Banco, one of the largest microfinance institutions in Latin America, serving more than 2 million low-income microentrepreneurs (mostly women) with financial services based around working capital loans. Compartamos Banco has been widely recognized at the leading edge of the Commercial model of Microfinance by being the first of its kind to issue public debt and becoming a publicly traded Microfinance specialist Bank. Mr. Danel is a frequent speaker in conferences and seminars, and a teacher in specialized courses. He has been featured in the international press as one of the leading forces behind the Microfinance movement and social investing. He was nominated a Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2002 and later named a Young Global Leader by the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Carlos is also an active thinker and investor in other base of the pyramid business approaches and is a General Partner at Ignia Partners LLC, a venture capital firm focused on investing in and developing commercial and social inclusive enterprises serving the base of the pyramid. He also serves on the board of Compartamos Banco, Progresso Financiero in California, Vista Desarrollos, Grupo CP and non-profit VIFAC A.C. Mr. Danel holds a degree in Architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana, an MBA from the IPADE, and is a Private Pilot and aviation enthusiast.Read author's posts
Susan Davis is President and CEO of BRAC USA. FAI invited Ms. Davis and others to offer her insights and reflections on the important events, opportunities and challenges facing microfinance this past year. This post is the first in an ongoing series featuring guest bloggers including Elizabeth Rhyne and Mary Ellen Iskenderian on "The Year in Microfinance." These contributions will be posted weekly on the FAI site into the New Year. FAI also invites you to participate by telling us your own thoughts and opinions about the year in microfinance via comments.
Chris Dunford was President of Freedom from Hunger for over 20 years until late 2011, when he became Senior Research Fellow and launched the blog The Evidence Project. Freedom from Hunger is an organization that brings innovative self-help solutions to the fight against chronic hunger and poverty. Dr. Dunford holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Sociology and is one of the three chief architects in the design and implementation of Freedom from Hunger's Credit with Education and related microfinance-based program models.Read author's posts
Thea Garon is a Research Assistant at the Financial Access Initiative. She is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning at NYU's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service with a focus on economic development and housing. In the summer of 2012, she interned at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its Office of Financial Empowerment, which seeks to expand financial access for low-income consumers. Prior to attending the Wagner School she worked at Ladder Up, a non-profit organization in Chicago that provides low-income students and families with free assistance with tax preparation and applications for financial aid for college. She intends to pursue a career in the field of financial access and inclusion.Read author's posts
Deepti George works on specific aspects of IFMR Finance Foundation’s three – pronged approach, namely, advocacy, research and strategic collaborations. Prior to this, she worked with IFMR Rural Finance, where she was instrumental in designing content and systems for the establishment of a credible training function at Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services, a class of financial services providers that incorporates principles of high quality origination. She holds a post-graduate diploma in management from IFMR, specializing in Finance and Human Resources.Read author's posts
Xavier Giné is a Senior Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Development Team of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. He is currently a BREAD affiliate and Associate Editor for the Journal of Development Economics. Since joining the World Bank as a Young Economist in 2002, his research has focused on access to financial services and rural financial markets. In recent papers he investigated the macroeconomic effects of a credit liberalization; the relationship between formal and informal sources of credit in rural credit markets; indigenous interlinked credit contracts in the fishing industry and the impact of microfinance services such as business training and financial literacy, microinsurance and microsavings. Prior to joining the Bank he was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the Economic Growth Center at Yale University. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago.Read author's posts
Jessica Goldberg is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Global Development. Her research interests are in development and labor economics. Currently, she is working on field experiments about labor supply, time preferences and saving decisions in Malawi.Read author's posts
Mary Ellen Iskenderian
Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking (WWB), the world’s largest network of microfinance institutions and banks. Ms. Iskenderian leads the WWB global team, based in New York, in providing hands-on technical services and strategic support to 39 top-performing microfinance institutions and banks in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. WWB network members are diverse in geography, size and structure but are united in the firm belief that microfinance must remain committed to helping poor women access innovative financial products and services and information.WWB’s network members consistently rate among the top three microfinance institutions in their countries serving more than 26 million clients, 80 percent of whom are women.Read author's posts
Jake Kendall is a Program Officer in the Financial Services for the Poor initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jake manages the research strategy of FSP including managing FSP’s major research grants and engaging with the academic community. Previous to joining the Foundation, he spent time as an Economist with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) housed in the World Bank. Jake holds a PhD in Economics from UC Santa Cruz and a BS in Physics from MIT. Just after graduating from MIT he volunteered for two years in Zambia as a fisheries extension agent with the US Peace Corps. Jake has also worked as a Brand Analyst for a major advertising firm, a technical salesperson for two high tech start ups, and a salmon fisherman in Alaska.Read author's posts
Barbara Kiviat is a research associate for the U.S. Financial Diaries, a multi-year study of the financial lives of 300 low- and moderate-income American households. Prior to joining the Financial Access Initiative, Barbara was a staff writer at Time magazine, where she covered business and economics. Barbara is a graduate of Johns
Hopkins University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. At Wagner, she was a David Bohnett Public Service Fellow. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University.
Berber Kramer holds a B.Sc. in Psychology and a M.Phil. in Economics. She is currently a PhD candidate in Economics at the Tinbergen Institute in the Netherlands, focusing on demand for microinsurance. As co-Principal Investigator at the Amsterdam Institute for International Development, she initiated yearlong health and financial diaries in Nigeria and Kenya. Her research interests are in development economics, applied microeconomics, behavioral economics and health economics.Read author's posts
Alexia Latortue is the Deputy CEO of CGAP and she leads CGAP’s expanding work on Clients and Products. At CGAP since 2002, Latortue moved to Washington, D.C., in 2009, after spending four years running CGAP’s Paris office. From Europe, she led CGAP’s portfolio with donors and investors, including the development of the SmartAid for Microfinance Index, the CGAP Funder Survey with comprehensive data on cross-border funding for microfinance, and the Good Practice Guidelines for Funders of Microfinance. Latortue has 15 years of experience in access to finance, and previously worked with Development Alternatives, Inc. in Haiti and Washington, D.C. She is a board member of the Microinsurance Network. Of Haitian descent, Latortue grew up in West Africa and Austria. She has a master’s degree in development economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She speaks English, French, Creole, and German.
Read author's posts
Jeremy Magruder is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. His research interests include unemployment in South Africa, job networks in India, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi.Read author's posts
Ignacio Mas has been Senior Advisor in the Financial Services for the Poor program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and at the Technology Program at CGAP (a resource center for microfinance housed at the World Bank). Previously he was Director of Global Business Strategy at Vodafone Group, executive vice-president of marketing and account management at DoCoMo interTouch (a supplier of broadband solutions to the hospitality industry), and Senior Manager responsible for telecoms investments in Europe at Intel Capital (Intel Corp's venture capital arm). Ignacio holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and economics from MIT and a PhD in economics from Harvard University, and has been a Visiting Professor of International Business at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He is currently an independent consultant on technology-enabled models for financial inclusion and an Associate with Bankable Frontier.Read author's posts
David McKenzie is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group, Finance and Private Sector Development Unit at the World Bank. He received his B.Com.(Hons)/B.A. from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University. Prior to joining the World Bank, he spent four years as an assistant professor of Economics at Stanford University. His main research is on migration, microenterprises, and methodology for use with developing country data. He has published over 80 articles in journals such as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Science, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of the European Economic Association, American Economic Journal: Applied Micro, Journal of Econometrics, and all leading development journals. He is currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fiscal Studies and Migration Studies.Read author's posts
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Jonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. His research centers on microfinance, social investment, and the economics of poverty.
Morduch is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton 2009) and The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press, 2nd edition 2010), and he is co-editor of Banking the World: Empricial Foundations of Financial Inclusion (MIT Press 2012). He has taught on the Economics faculty at Harvard University, and has held visiting positions at Stanford, Princeton, the University of Tokyo, and Hitotsubashi University. Morduch has worked with the United Nations and World Bank, and advises global NGOs.
Morduch holds a BA from Brown and Ph.D. from Harvard, both in Economics. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in December 2008 in recognition of his work on microfinance.Read author's posts
Timothy Ogden serves as Managing Director, coordinating FAI’s operations, research and communications. His previous work experience encompasses the private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Financial Access Initiative he was the Chief Knowledge Officer at Geneva Global, Inc., an international philanthropy advisory company, and founding editor of Gartner Press. He founded and currently leads Sona Partners, a thought leadership communications firm, where he has helped develop more than 20 books for major publishers. Ogden is co-author of Toyota Under Fire, and author of the forthcoming Experimental Conversations, a collection of interviews with economists conducting field experiments on poverty alleviation interventions. Ogden also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Philanthropy Action, as a contributing editor for Alliance Magazine, and writes regularly for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.Read author's posts
Senior Associate and Director of Remittances and Development, Inter-American Dialogue
Manuel Orozco is senior associate and director of remittances and development at the Inter-American Dialogue. He has theorized, conducted extensive research, policy analysis and advocacy on issues relating to global flows of remittances, and migration and development worldwide. His work has led to international policy initiatives leveraging these flows to build assets among families and migrants. Dr. Orozco is also chair of Central America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute at the U.S. Department of State. He also teaches at America, Georgetown and George Washington University. He has testified before Congress and has spoken before the United Nations. Orozco holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin, masters in public administration and Latin American studies, and a BA in international relations from the National University of Costa Rica.
Manuel Orozco has published widely on remittances, Latin America, globalization, democracy, migration, conflict in war torn societies, and minority politics. His publications include studies about the intersection between remittances and finances, financial literacy and development. He has analyzed and designed development strategies linked to remittances. His books includeThe Money in Between: On the global flow of remittances(forthcoming, Lynne Riener 2011), Remittances: Global Opportunities for International Person-to-Person Money Transfers (London: Lafferty Group, 2005) and International Norms and Mobilization for Democracy (London: Ashgate Publishers, 2002). Other publications include the following, “Remittance Recipients and the Present and Future of Micro-Entrepreneurship Activities in Cuba,” (2011); “A Commitment Amidst Shared Hardship: Haitian Transnational Migrants and Remittances,” Journal of Black Studies, March 2011. “A Scorecard in the Market for Money Transfers: Trends in Competition in Latin America and the Caribbean (2010)”. “Migration, Remittances and Assets in Bangladesh (2010)”. “Toward financial independence: Financial literacy for remittance senders and recipients (June 2010).”Read author's posts
Robert Polner is a Public Affairs Officer at New York University (NYU). Prior to working at NYU, he was a reporter at Newsday.Read author's posts
Shamika Ravi is Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at The Indian School of Business, focusing on Development Finance and impact of public programs. She is currently researching India’s NREGS and publicly financed health insurance schemes. Some of her recent work includes an asset transfer program, product design of financial instruments and analyzing topics in microinsurance with an emphasis on health insurance. She is a Fellow at the Microfinance Management Institute in Washington D.C., advisor to UNICEF, India and independent director on boards of MFIs like Spandana, BASIX and SKS NGO. She has a PhD in Economics from New York University (2006) and a Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics (1998).Read author's posts
Elisabeth Rhyne is the Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion (www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org). The Center is a focal point for collaboration among the microfinance industry and private sector on industry-wide challenges, including client protection, among others. As senior vice president of ACCION International from 2000-2008, Ms. Rhyne led ACCION’s initial entry into Africa and India and directed the organization’s research efforts to develop new financial products and managed ACCION’s publications and educational activities.
Ms. Rhyne has published numerous articles and books on microfinance, including her new book, Microfinance for Bankers and Investors (McGraw-Hill, 2009).. She was also co-editor of The New World of Microenterprise Finance (Kumarian, 1994), which provided the introduction to microfinance for many of the field’s current professionals.
Microfinance consultant Daniel Rozas takes a broad view of financial inclusion, exploring issues such as savings, housing finance, client protection and social responsibility, risk management, client behavior, and many others, relying on a background in finance and business strategy to guide his research. In addition to his partnership with Financial Access Initiative, during the past two years of consulting in the microfinance sector, Daniel has conducted research projects for a number of organizations, including CGAP, Accion's Center for Financial Inclusion, the Smart Campaign, MicroRate, and others. Prior to entering the microfinance sector, Daniel spent most of the past decade in the US mortgage finance industry.Read author's posts
Mr Sanjay Sinha is an alumnus of Oxford University and holds an M.Phil. in Economics from Jesus College, Oxford University. He has 30 years of economic and development research experience in South and Southeast Asia. He has specialized in sub-sector analysis of activities of relevance to the livelihoods of poor people, microenterprise promotion and BDS in addition to microfinance. He is co-founder of EDA Rural Systems Private Limited, one of the leading development consultancies in Asia and parent company of M-CRIL. He is currently Managing Director of M-CRIL.Read author's posts