September 26, 2014
Recently Upsides sat down with FAI’s Jonathan Morduch to discuss his views on the current state of microfinance and his current project – US Financial Diaries. Morduch highlights that whether in the developing world or the US, the poor face many of the same financial struggles, which is why understanding money management strategies at the household level a crucial step to providing more effective financial services to the poor:
A person like myself tends to have a much more regular income...
September 24, 2014
This week’s UN General Assembly meetings brought renewed attention to the set of global goals that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015.
The latest draft of the new “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) is a kitchen-sink-like receptacle for the interests of every possible development constituency. There are some obvious and glaring problems with this. To focus on the plus side, though, this enormous brain dump allows space for some intriguing new thinking about what the global community can and should...
September 19, 2014
1. Credit: In 2013, 4 million workers, or about 3% of all employees, had wages garnished for a consumer debt in 2013 - sometimes at rates of up to 25% per paycheck....
September 18, 2014
“If you build it, he will come.” Unfortunately, this line that worked so well in Field of Dreams is less effective in the world of social enterprise. Simply producing and having the networks to distribute a product does not guarantee its success—to be successful, a product must address a customer need.
What better way to understand customers’ needs, wants, and limitations than to involve them in the design process? This customer-...
September 11, 2014
Financial Access Initiative
Think back on the past year in your financial life: the money you received from work, loans or gifts, the purchases large and small, the bank deposits and withdrawals. Now imagine keeping track of every one of those transactions - regardless of your income level, it would be a mind-boggling endeavor.
September 11, 2014
In what seems to me an unfortunate conflation, the literature on women’s empowerment frequently relies on the same characterization as pornography: “you have trouble defining it but you know it when you see it.” If “empowerment” is hard to define, it is even harder to measure. This is a problem for researchers trying to establish a clear causal relationship...
September 9, 2014
Barbara Magnoni, Emily Zimmerman
How can we extend financial products and services, like microinsurance, to low-income consumers at scale? In theory, “low touch” sales and services can reach large numbers of people at low cost. But so far, attempts to enroll new customers without active sales efforts have largely failed. As a result, “high touch” sales and distribution channels are seen as necessary to convince low-income consumers to purchase financial products, especially unfamiliar and complex ones such as microinsurance. But these high touch channels may incur costs that the small...
September 5, 2014
1. Sustainable Development Goals: FAI affiliate Michael Clemens reacts to the inclusion of migration policy in the latest draft of the UN's SDGs... Center for Global Development
2. Immigration: ...while David Roodman evaluates the domestic economic impact of migration for receiving countries. ...