The definite highlight for me was Sendhil Mullainathan’s Lunch Plenary, drawing together diverse strands of psychological research with funny videos (we’ll post them here later) into a fresh and intriguing hypothesis. Our attention is limited, and what access to finance can do is liberate us from worrying about our finances. When we are worrying about money (or anything else) we have fewer mental resources left to be productive and enjoy our lives. Access to finance lets you think about things other than money, freeing attention, increasing self-control, allowing long-term thinking, and better decision-making, all of which could be critical when you are living on the edge.
Live coverage continued to come throughout the day on twitter at the hashtag #mfimpact, particularly comprehensively from @viewfromthecave and @timothyogden, as well as from @cgap (conference co-hosts), @shivsiroya, @philaction, @davidroodman and @poverty_action.
Other afternoon sessions included discussions from both academic researchers and practitioners on the role of information in credit markets, the role of psychology in designing savings products, and consumer protection.
Looking forward to tomorrow's researcher-practitioner "match-making" sessions!