May 22, 2015
1. Income Volatility: New research based on transaction data confirms findings from the US Financial Diaries (USFD) on income volatility - households' incomes vary from month to month and savings are inadequate to cover the mismatches in income and spending. FAI's Jonathan Morduch notes that in the USFD sample, income volatility is greatest for poorer households but remains high even as households increase their incomes. The...
May 15, 2015
1. Ultra-Poor: A RCT involving more than 10,000 households in six countries reports improvements in livelihoods for participants in a "graduation model" poverty intervention. While the programs didn't show effects in all contexts, cost-benefit analysis suggests promising returns on investment. Nature and ...
May 8, 2015
1. Financial Inclusion: This week, InterMedia released the results of its research on digital financial inclusion within eight of the poorest countries across Africa and Asia, focusing on gender divides, customer engagement, and financial behaviors. Financial Inclusion Insights
2. Mobile Money: Data from 2014 reports 13.4 million registered bKash accounts in Bangladesh...but only 5.1 unique users. ...
May 7, 2015
Aparna Dalal, Julie Zollmann
We know that the path out of poverty is rarely a smooth one. The poor are buffeted by a wide range of shocks, pushing them backwards along the way. Exploring the world of risk in the Kenya Financial Diaries, we learned that for many of the poor, navigating a world of risk is actually not only about how you manage your money. It’s also about how you manage relationships with friends and family...
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.
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...