Yale Savings and Payments Research Fund
Conference: June 24 - 25
Research Methods Workshop: June 20 - 22
Kampala, Uganda - Learn more
Contrary to popular belief, the poor can and do save. In fact, saving is critical to households whose income flows are often ill-matched with their daily consumption needs as well as their need to weather shocks and make investments. Unfortunately, with close to half of the world's adult population excluded from formal financial services, the poor often must save through inefficient and costly mechanisms. In close partnership with Yale University under the Savings and Payments Research Fund, Innovations for Poverty Action initiates and oversees a growing portfolio of rigorous research projects on savings products and payment channels for the poor. These projects will answer a range of questions, from determining the impact of savings on the welfare of households to identifying new mechanisms to help the poor save more effectively.
Our research has identified a number of promising avenues for reform and targeted intervention. A study providing ordinary bank accounts to female small business owners in Kenya led to larger business investments and an improved ability to cope with health shocks without drawing down business inventory or working capital. This occurred despite effectively negative financial returns on the actual savings accounts themselves. Introducing commitment savings devices in Ghana, Malawi and the Philippines, as well as interventions involving reminding people to save in Latin America have shown promising positive impacts. In addition, a two-year panel study tracking the expansion of mobile money usage in Kenya found that users of mobile money services lowered their consumption less in the face of a shock, compared to those without mobile money, primarily by rapidly accessing emergency consumption funds from their social network using their mobile money account.
The Yale Savings and Payments Research Fund promotes new studies on innovations encouraging and allowing the poor to save more towards their own life goals. These studies seek ways to engage with new technologies and delivery channels such as mobile and agent banking to understand what works best for the poor in mobilizing savings and facilitating payments.
The Yale Savings and Payment Research Fund is managed in collaboration with the Economic Growth Center at Yale University and is made possible through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Global Financial Inclusion
- Post Conflict Recovery
- Small and Medium Enterprise
- U.S. Household Finance
- Ultra Poor Graduation Pilots