Week of February 16, 2015

1. Informal Finance: FAI's Executive Director Jonathan Morduch discusses what makes informal finance so popular and how financial institutions can respond. NextBillion

2. Cash Transfers:  Electronic payments are a fast and effective way to administer cash transfer programs. But what about in failed states, where the lack of infrastructure means driving large piles of cash around to beneficiaries? The Guardian

3. Wealth Inequality:  "The fact that 42 percent of African-American Americans between the ages of 25 and 55 had student loan debt in 2013 (compared to 28 percent of whites) reflects a vicious cycle: families’ lower wealth compels students to take on debt, but that debt then hurts their overall wealth well into adulthood."  PBS Newshour

4. Ethics and Investing:  The recent movement for socially-conscious investors to steer clear of "vice stocks" may have backfired - avoidance has depressed their share prices, offering higher returns in the long run for those without ethical concerns. Capital Finance International

5. Labor Standards:  Could MFIs be an effective entry point to improve working conditions for entrepreneurs in the informal economy that operate outside of the purview of labor laws and regulation?  ILO 

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