May 6, 2015
If asked to picture a savings group, the images, like the one below, that most likely would come to mind are ones of circles of women sitting on the ground, maybe under a tree. That’s how we typically conceptualize savings groups (and microfinance clients) - as a single, essentially independent, unit.
Photo credit: Paul Rippey for The Guardian
May 1, 2015
1. Impact Investing: There's no clear definition of "impact investing," made apparent by the US Council on Foundations' annual conference and the Milken Institute Global Conference both having impact investing tracks this week populated by quite different people. Read Tim Ogden's reflections from the Council on Foundations (Part 1, ...
April 30, 2015
The next installment of our series on microfinance innovation research brings us to Ulaanbaatar. The motivating question of most microcredit evaluations is the impact on poverty for the “average” microcredit borrower. But “average” microcredit doesn’t typically serve ultra-poor or other high risk populations. So one important dimension of innovation in microfinance is products or interventions specifically targeting these marginal groups, rather than marginal typical borrowers.
Interventions targeting highly vulnerable groups, in this case sex...
April 24, 2015
April 17, 2015
1. Commitment Savings: FAI's Managing Director Timothy Ogden discusses the world’s largest and most successful commitment savings program for low-income households - the US tax system. Stanford Social Innovation Review
2. Financial Inclusion: The number of "unbanked" individuals dropped 20% between 2011 and 2014 to 2 billion adults,...
April 17, 2015
Over at CGAP, Julie Zollman has a terrific post on M-Shwari, the Kenyan borrowing and saving platform built on M-Pesa, examining the underlying customer needs that have led to M-Shwari’s success. Here’s a key passage:
The appeal [of M-Shwari] was the possibility of being able to borrow on demand, in real time, to stretch families’ ability to make ends meet in the short term. M-Shwari offered liquidity bigger than credit from local shops; faster, more private, and more...
April 16, 2015
The third study for our spotlight on current microfinance research is a working paper by Afzal et al. presented at the 2014 NEUDC which delves into the similarity between savings and credit products. The authors conduct a lab experiment among women in rural Pakistan who are or have been microfinance clients.
The experiment runs in three sessions...
April 14, 2015
Tim is worried about the state of microcredit research, particularly research on product innovation, in the aftermath of the six microcredit evaluations published in the January edition of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. (For an overview of reactions, see our special edition of the FAIV.) That prompted me to explore the microfinance research...
April 10, 2015
1. Digital Payments: A body of research contains evidence that people spend more with credit cards than cash because the former reduces the "pain of paying." Do mobile wallets like Apple Pay increase or relieve this pain? The Atlantic
2. G2P Transfers: The US doesn't drug test farmers receiving crop subsidies or requirePell Grant...
April 9, 2015
We often talk about how access to financial instruments may complement entrepreneurship. Financial instruments such as vehicles for savings and loans may help to encourage entrepreneurship and investment by making it possible for individuals to make larger investments and to hoard returns for the future. Less has been said about the interaction between financial access and wage work, but a recent paper by Michael Callen, Suresh De Mel, Craig McIntosh and Christopher Woodruff shows, perhaps surprisingly, that a...