Displaying all posts under the topic of Product Design
May 17, 2013
The long-awaited impact study of Compartamos, led by Manuela Angelucci of the University of Michigan and Dean Karlan and Johnathan Zinman of IPA, has finally been published. The research team used a randomized trial to test the impact of loans offered at 110% APR by Compartamos, the largest microlender in Mexico.
Half of the adults in the world are “unbanked” -- about 2.5 billion people. That’s the starting point of a new book, Banking the World: Empirical Foundations of Financial Inclusion, published by the MIT Press.
It's an important moment for the microfinance movement. At a time when real progress has been made in making financial services available to the poor, questions abound about the effectiveness of microfinance as a way of helping people escape from poverty. The priveleged position microfinance has enjoyed among poverty interventions and social investment is eroding. Charting the right path forward for microfinance--and effective investments in reducing poverty--requires a closer look at how microfinance really has worked.
February 8, 2013
Focusing on financial access can sometimes obscure the rationale for doing so. We don’t really care about access to finance for its own sake. The point of providing quality financial services to poor households is to give them an easier, more stable path to prosperity. But what are the pitfalls and slippery spots on that path that we hope to ameliorate?
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.
One of the big changes observed in discussions over microfinance in the past few years has been increasing emphasis on discussing microfinance, rather than just microcredit. In practice this has meant a lot of discussion about microsavings, with advocates pointing to studies showing greater impacts from offering savings accounts than from offering loans.
November 30, 2012
A few weeks ago I wrote that a transition to electronic payments will not be a boon to poor households unless the financial systems that undergird payments become more focused on serving poor households. It’s vitally important to think of the value and benefits of electronic payments within a system.
A couple of recent news stories highlight what a financial system enabled by electronic payments can do, even without the active cooperation of traditional banks.
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.