Week of April 4, 2014

  • David Evans from the World Bank provides a nice round up of key publications at the 2014 Pacific Conference for Development Economics, including papers on cash transfers and wages in Mexico, commitment savings products in the Philippines, and flexible microcredit design in Bangladesh.
  • Researchers at the University of Colorado – Boulder analyzed findings from 188 studies  (and over 585,000 combined participants) on the connection between financial literacy and financial decisions.  From this meta-analysis, they found that education programs that are timed to be close to the financial decision have the biggest impact but that most interventions show weak links between education and financial decisions.
  • You may think of savings groups as typically found in developing countries but this NPR piece highlights the ways they are used among communities in the US to provide access to savings and credit.
  • new study from the California Reinvestment Coalition reports on the impact of ATM fees for welfare recipients that use electronic debit cards. Over 96% of recipients use the cards and are often charged fees of $3-4 per transaction. Bank of America earned $3.6 million from welfare transactions in one year.
  • FAI affiliate Igancio Mas discusses how the very words that describe financial products can change their usage and perception.  For example, many think of “savings” as something you do when you have excess money instead of a useful tool for dealing with emergencies.
  • NPR’s Marketplace recently reported on workplace lending – when borrowers take out a loan through their employer, with repayments taken directly from paychecks.
  • The IRS ruled that virtual currencies are property and subject to tax, which some say severely limits the potential of Bitcoin as an alternative currency since it is no longer fungible.
  • Eva Vivalt of NYU’s Development Research Institute posted a blog on ways to improve impact evaluations that draws on data from over 400 studies in an AidGrade meta-analysis.

Return to the Weekly faiV