Week of November 1, 2013

This week is one of big announcements - the latest research on unconditional cash transfers made a splash in the media, the World Bank released its annual Doing Business report, and I am launching my month-long Sorry, Cash Only project. I encourage our readers to follow my adventures of a peek into a cash-only economy on TumblrTwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

  • IPA released a policy brief showing initial (encouraging) results of its evaluation of Give Directly’s cash transfer program in Kenya. While many bloggers and news outlets covered the announcement, this piece from The Economist offers a succinct look at the CCT/UCT debate. and
  • FAI affiliate Ignacio Mas offers a borderline sci-fi blog post as he speculates whether cash will disappear or we will move to a world of “smart notes.”
  • Recently, the book Scarcity provided a deep dive into the impact of poverty on the way we think and act. New research is building on those ideas and shows that poverty can cause long-lasting changes in the structure of our brains.
  • Ukraine is the most improved economy and Singapore is the easiest place to conduct business according to the World Bank, which released its annual Doing Business report on entrepreneurship and regulations.
  • Over at the Why Nations Fail blog, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson take a different view on Karlan, et al.’s paper on the economic returns of cows in rural India, looking at the phenomenon through a social and institutional (rather than purely economic) lens.
  • CGAP reveals the practicalities of implementing mobile payments through the story of Mushtaque, a rickshaw driver in Bangladesh, and his challenges in using mobile wallet products.
  • The New York City Housing Authority announced it will provide bank kiosks that look like ATMs to allow unbanked residents more convenient locations to make rent and bill payments.

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