Week of May 31, 2013

This week’s mostly new and definitely notable list includes a new report on health insurance in Ghana, investigations into calculating global poverty figures, and new thoughts on financial inclusion.

  • Recently the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty sat down with Emmanuel Maliti, a researcher and seed grant recipient, to discuss his work in Tanzania. Maliti is investigating the efficacy of direct and indirect punishments on repayment performance among informal savings groups in Dar es Salaam.
  • In this article for the Boston Review, Pranab Bardhan reviews four books on development and poverty alleviation released in the last few years and compares two major approaches - the macro-political camp versus the micro experimentalists.
  • CGAP released the third blog post in its series highlighting themes from its recently approved five-year strategic plan. This installment describes CGAP’s approach to “building an enabling and protective policy environment” for financial inclusion and includes video clips from interviews with Philippine central bank Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla and his colleague Pia Roman.   
  • new report from the ILO Microinsurance Innovation Facility evaluates the impact of consumer education on health insurance enrolment in Ghana. Researchers found evidence that convenience of registration and timing of premium payments were more common challenges to enrolment than lack of knowledge of health insurance. See also FAI’s Jonathan Bauchet on an experiment marketing life insurance in Mexico. In a forthcoming paper, Bauchet discusses evidence from a natural experiment that ease of payment was a major factor in insurance purchases.
  • MicroSave released a report this week exploring the role of information sources in poor household’s decision-making processes. Researchers review what decision making paths people use to reach a decision, and how information sources accessible to them influence the process in an effort to inform better approaches for increasing financial literacy.
  • The World Bank released a working paper, authored by Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Leora Klapper, and Dorothe Singer, documenting and analyzing gender differences in the use of financial services using data from 98 developing countries. The data, drawn from the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database, highlights the existence of significant gender gaps in ownership of accounts as well as usage of savings and credit products.
  • Using a RCT of a large-scale micro-entrepreneurship program in Chile, the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty assessed the effectiveness s of training and asset transfers on individuals’’ employment and income. The results of the research indicate an increase in both for participants in the program. 
  • In a recent blog post for the Center for Financial Inclusion, Ignacio Mas makes the case that financial inclusion involves both formal and informal channels. He uses a cake analogy "to represent the idea of platforms, of capabilities arranged horizontally and interworking with each other." 

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