November 26, 2013
In this special Holiday (at least in the US) edition of New and Noteworthy, we take a look at the global status of bitcoin, analyze the gender gap in financial inclusion, and observe the intersection of the American military and the payday loan industry.NextBillion has a two-part interview with Ideas42’s Alex Fiorillo. In part I, “The Power of Choices,” she gives an overview of the principles of behavioral economics. In part II,...
November 25, 2013
At a recent Microfinance Club of New York event with Michael Joseph, the former CEO of Safaricom in Kenya and now the Director of Mobile Money for Vodafone, Joseph cited regulatory barriers as the principal reason that mobile money has not taken off in India, the largest market in the world and his current project. A new paper from Eva Gutierrez and Sandeep Singh at the World Bank confirms his intuition, finding evidence for the importance of regulation for mobile money usage by combining the World...
November 22, 2013
This week’s edition of New and Noteworthy highlights some innovative approaches to financial inclusion –a banking van, a new iPad app, and a new approach to delivering subsidies.The World Bank released its most comprehensive report on financial inclusion to date.
“Gamification” was the hot buzzword a few years ago but has faded more recently. Nonetheless this...
November 20, 2013
Most of NYU’s development economists are on leave this year (Raquel, Debraj, and Hunt: your colleagues miss you). The regular doctoral sequence and development seminar are on hold for the year. Students walk the halls unsure who to ask about the right way to parameterize intra-village treatment heterogeneity when doing power calculations. Bill Easterly and Yaw Nyarko are holding the fort, though, and they pulled off a standing-room-only annual Development Research Institute conference on Friday, November 15...
November 20, 2013
Last Friday marked the halfway mark in my experiment to only use cash for 30 days. I still have a few weeks to go but I wanted to reflect on some of the major insights I’ve gained so far.Increased Anxiety and Insecurity – Going into this month, I expected to feel an increased sense of worry around personal theft. However, I live in a relatively safe neighborhood, the cash under my proverbial mattress is decently secure, and never carry huge sums of cash on...
November 20, 2013
Financial Access Initiative
For the world’s poor, living with unpredictable and inadequate income flows makes it difficult to cope with risk. Catastrophic events such as illness or crop failure can be devastating financially. Households use a variety of strategies to protect themselves from misfortune. Formal insurance may be the last resort after all other...
November 13, 2013
A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to submit nominations for the people who are most influential when it comes to ideas about financial services for poor communities. We’ve had quite a bit of response and so far have generated the follow list of nominees:Bindu Ananth, President of IFMR Trust Abhijit Banerjee, Co-author of Poor Economics and Professor of Economics at MIT Ela Bhatt, Founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association of India (SEWA) Ms. Jeroo Billimoria, Founder...
November 11, 2013
Last week was a big one for those hoping to reach “full financial inclusion” by 2020. The President of the World Bank has signed on to the cause, and the Center for Financial Inclusion just rallied the troops in London at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum.
As with most really big global...
November 8, 2013
This week’s New and Noteworthy highlights new research and findings on ways to encourage savings, measures of poverty in America, and a discussion of financial capability.Some of the mobile apps promoting saving behaviors profiled in this American Banker article could possibly address savings challenges highlighted by FAI’s Julie Siwicki...
November 7, 2013
A growing body of research on mobile money has a lot to say about its potential to smooth risks and facilitate transfer programs, but a definitive experimental study on what it means for the financial lives of the poor remains undone – a gap we would like to fill with our future work at the Financial Access Initiative.
In recent years, mobile technologies have rapidly expanded in the developing world, bringing information and other transformative services with them to the previously isolated and the poor (...