Displaying all posts by Thea Garon
May 29, 2013
Much of the dialogue around microfinance suggests that the poor are universally credit constrained and that cash shortages drive a monolithic demand for credit. As such, microfinance is often treated as a technical, rational and linear process that is characterized by an “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” mindset. Too often overlooked are the contextually specific and nuanced processes that influence consumers’ demand for microcredit in a variety of social, moral, cultural, and political contexts.
In last week’s blog post, I suggested that self-reported data should be supplemented with objective sources of information from independent third-party entities. Sometimes, however, independent data sources simply aren’t available and researchers have no choice but to base their analysis on self-reported data. Under these circumstances, some data collection methodologies might be more useful than others in ensuring that self-reported data are reliable.
Program evaluations and policy proposals are only as good as the data upon which they are based. Although we all know this to be true, discussions about the reliability of data, especially self-reported data, have only recently emerged in the field of development economics.
March 5, 2013
The mobile money revolution has been greeted with great excitement in some circles for the potential it holds to increase financial access for the world’s poorest. Women may especially benefit from expanding financial inclusion through mobile financial services (MFS).
February 1, 2013
Whether the result of variable incomes, liquidity constraints or reduced access to formal financial services, poor households face unique financial constraints that undermine their ability to effectively guard against risk and accumulate meaningful savings. There’s been a lot of research into these questions in the last few years.
January 25, 2013
Last November, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Financial Empowerment hosted a conference on “Empowering Low-Income and Economically Vulnerable Consumers: Making the Case through Access, Data and Scale.” A key highlight of the conference was a breakout session about the incentives and obstacles to collecting data in the field.
January 16, 2013
At FAI, we’re big advocates for data. Why? Because you can’t make good policy without data. Data can be collected in many ways and come in many forms: transaction records, panel surveys, financial diaries, or field experiment results. We get excited about the opportunity to collect or analyze data about the financial behavior of poor households.
November 26, 2012
We do our best (not always successfully) to keep up with new research relevant to finance, poverty and development. Today, I’ll be sharing highlights from some new papers by FAI affiliate Sendhil Mullainathan.
November 5, 2012
After nearly 30 years of the microcredit movement, we've finally started seeing rigorous impact evaluations in the last few years. Randomized control trials of some variant of microcredit have been conducted in India, Morocco, Mongolia and the Philippines. Each of these trials adds to the evidence, but each is in a specific context, with differences in contracts, eligibility, loan size and structure, and most importantly among the borrowers. That’s why it’s still exciting to see new trials which provide evidence in a different context.