Week of March 28, 2016

1. Income Volatility:  Churn in health insurance coverage imposes a lot of costs on individuals, administrators and providers. Dhruv Khullar illustrates how income volatility is a major driver of churn and suggests some ideas for reducing the impact of income volatility on health insurance coverage. NYT

2. Digital Inclusion (or not): Direct digital payments to poor households can theoretically be a tool for financial inclusion, but not if the programs turn those households off. Silvia Baur and Jamie Zimmerman review risks in digital payments programs that can limit their effect on inclusion. CGAP

3. Tax Returns: How would millions of lower income Americans spend time and money that they didn't have to spend filling out a tax return? We may never know because while tax service companies run experiments on how to help them save their tax refunds, they also lobby against simplifying returns.
The Atlantic

4. Digital Consumer Protection: Advocates for digital financial services note that a digital trail allows poor consumers to resolve problems. But that only works if the providers actually care about resolving those problems for poor customers. MicroSave reviews consumer protection in India and finds only 47% of consumers were aware of recourse options. MicroSave

5. Replications and Altruism: I ran a "conceptual replication" of Bruce Wydick's child-drowning/Give Directly/cellphone experiment with college students. But couldn't resist turning the screws a bit more.  Medium

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