August 15, 2014
1. Cash Transfers: Conditional cash transfers in the US encounter ridicule and skepticism, but this "foreign import" for the war on poverty has promise....
August 13, 2014
In an interview with FAI, economist Jenny Aker explained that effective commitment savings products are those that balance flexibility and restrictions:
“If you give someone a savings product and it completely ties their hand, they don’t want to use it. They want to have a little bit of that tying of the hand so they can’t spend that money but they don’t want to be completely divorced from access to that money....
August 8, 2014
1. Retail Banking: Banks may continue to go digital but this doesn’t mean the brick and mortar branch is disappearing. Customers who use mobile and online banking more than once a week are over 60% more likely to be active retail-branch users than those who do not....
August 8, 2014
August 6, 2014
Economist Jenny Aker explores the pros and cons of delivering aid via cash, voucher, or digital payment in two very different African programs.
Photo credit: The Gates Foundation
There are now...
July 30, 2014
A recently released World Bank Policy Research Working Paper presents results of an audit study of Mexican banks, investigating whether bank employees hide the lowest cost options from potential customers in order to turn a higher profit.
Financial products can vary widely in cost while providing more or less the same services. The dispersion in prices for products that offer essentially the same benefits –...
July 25, 2014
1. Microcredit: Easing liquidity constraints of smallholder farmers during the hungry season may help break the cycle of inadequate crop yields and low-wage off-labor farm work by helping to smooth consumption (with the added bonus of raising local wages!). Jobs Knowledge Platform
July 24, 2014
Recent work from CGAP and Continuum Innovation in Pakistan calls extreme illiteracy a “hidden hurdle” to financial inclusion. When people are unable to read or understand digital transactions they are less likely to trust digital products, constraining a viable avenue for access to financial products. In many cases illiterate people have to rely on an agent to complete their transaction and...
July 22, 2014
What does financial access look like? I like to think of it as a non-prescriptive goal in two parts. First, high-quality, affordable financial services are available. Second, people are aware of the services available to them. When these conditions are met, people are free to choose whether or not to use the services, and “access” is created.
A recent working paper challenged me...