July 17, 2014
Just about everyone agrees that international remittances should be cheaper. If you run the numbers on international remittance flows, incomes of recipients and transaction costs, you can make a case that reducing remittance costs would be among the highest ROI interventions for raising incomes of poor households in the developing world (and given what we’re learning about the use and benefits of cash transfers, there’s good reason to believe the money would...
July 15, 2014
As part of our ongoing effort to bring the worlds of research and practice closer together, we are experimenting with making academic work more readable and accessible by publishing and disseminating it in new formats. We’ve just released a paper by Michael Clemens and Tim Ogden on Medium, which we like so far for its clean, visually appealing, picture-heavy layout, and the way it allows readers to leave...
July 8, 2014
In mid-June the Stanford Social Innovation Review blogged the results of a survey they conducted. The survey’s purpose: to understand the role of academic research in the work of practitioners in a broad range of social, environmental and economic issue areas. Many of the 1,800 respondents described academic research as difficult to access, expensive, too narrow, and not relevant. Seventy percent cited the “difficulty of translating research findings into concrete action...
July 2, 2014
Discussions of migration and remittances often revolve around statistics that illustrate the sheer scale of migrants (231 million in 2013) or money flows ($404 billion that same year). But each one of the 231 million migrants is a person who leaves family members, friends, and the familiarity of their culture, and many of them retain strong ties with their home communities, sending money but also exchanging information. Sociologist Peggy Levitt studies...
July 1, 2014
Financial Access Initiative
More than 200 alumni, students, faculty, staff, donors, and friends of NYU Wagner celebrated the school's 75th anniversary on Thursday, June 12. The celebration began with faculty presenting their research highlights, or "WAGTalks." FAI's Jonathan Morduch kicked off the series with an overview of the US Financial Diaries (USFD) project and its relevance in today's current economic debates. Jonathan emphasized that USFD provides a highly detailed, month-to-month picture of the...
June 27, 2014
1. Microfinance: FAI affiliate Daniel Rozas takes a in-depth look at multiple borrowing and overindebtedness and warns of an potential credit crisis in Mexico. ...
June 26, 2014
A new paper by Chris Blattman (Columbia) and co-authors provides optimistic new evidence on the returns to providing cash grants to impoverished women in northern Uganda. The new experiment varied whether the ultra-poor, largely women, were offered a business grant worth $150, training and supervision, and found dramatic impacts of the cash grant on entrepreneurship, hours worked, individual earnings, and household consumption.
The paper stands out from previous studies in that it finds...
June 23, 2014
Stephanie Hanson, Mike Warmington
An Expert Recommendation from our Big Questions Section on the topic of Credit
The majority of the world’s poor share one profession: farming. Most of these farmers cultivate less than 10 acres of land, far away from paved roads and with limited access to the improved seed and fertilizer they need to produce good harvests. Most of these farmers also lack access to financial services that could help them buy that seed and fertilizer. If the global microfinance industry seeks to have a long-term impact on global poverty, it must address the needs of smallholder farmers. Most microfinance institutions are focused in urban and peri-urban areas, but a few are...