Week of July 8, 2013

This week’s New & Noteworthy covers two weeks due to the July 4th holiday in the US. The list is long and includes: some great visualizations of how the world’s population will grow in the future and what it currently eats in the present; lots of new information about the evolution and future of microinsurance; a new paper on the long-term impact of savings subsidies and intra-household bargaining; financial inclusion and the development agenda; and research on the downside of electronic payments.

  • Kristie Wang of Ashoka reviews new microinsurance products that offer more specialized services like coverage for chronic disease, options for frequent, low-cost health issues, and subsidized preventative care.
  • Can a short-term increase in savings have long-term impacts? Simone Schaner sought to answer that question through a RCT in rural Kenya. Her research focuses on the impact of interest subsidies on household finances and shows some promising results. David McKenzie shares his perspective on the findings on the Development Impact blog.
     
  • Social entrepreneurship is an increasingly trendy field but Daniel Ben-Horin challenges the sector to remember the less sexy, day-to-day work and lasting commitment that is required to be sustainable in parts one and two of his series for Stanford’s Social Innovation Review.
     
  • Elizabeth Rhyne, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion, reviews the recommendations from the recent High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, specifically the incorporation (or lack thereof) of the role of financial inclusion.
     
  • The Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative released a new review of the microinsurance landscape in Bangladesh, highlighting the potential for customized products to address the negative impacts of climate change, particularly among the poor. 
     
  • This Washington Post article reviews a recent study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on overdraft programs from the nation’s banks.
     
  • The SWIFT Institute released a summary of its spring conference on financial inclusion at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
     
  • Ignacio Mas, an FAI affiliate, questions the common belief that the poor need financial education in his recent blog post for the World Bank’s Private Sector Development blog.
     
  • A fascinating photo essay from Peter Menzel shows what a week’s worth of groceries looks like around the world.
     
  • In 2050, India will surpass China as the most populous nation in the world according the UN’s latest population projections.
     
  • Women’s World Banking released a manual to provide guidance for MFIs on implementing its Gender Performance Indicators. These indicators are meant to improve outreach and service delivery for women borrowers.
     
  • Azuri Technologies developed and manufactures the IndiGo solar kit, which is available for purchase in Kenya via mobile phone. After an initial deposit of 1,000 shillings (roughly $11), users make weekly payments before fully owning the system.
     
  • Derek Thompson of The Atlantic provides an overview of research that claims that the use of electronic payments technology (such as credit cards) versus cash makes it harder for people to make sound financial decisions and stick to budgets.

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