Over 40 percent of the adult population in developing countries holds an account with a formal financial institution today. But as recent loan repayment crises and low savings rates around the world demonstrate, improved access to financial products and services is only part of the formula for financial inclusion. Access alone is not sufficient to promote healthy financial behaviors.
The Financial Capability Initiative identifies, develops, and rigorously evaluates products and programs that aim to improve the welfare of the poor by building their financial capability, a key ingredient for achieving full financial inclusion. We focus on testing innovations that are informed by behavioral insights, are cost-effective, and present a promising business case for scale-up. We also promote evidence-based policy and product design by sharing our research insights with financial service providers and policymakers through our events and publications.
The Initiative team oversees a portfolio of randomized evaluations that explore the impact of innovatively designed and delivered financial education programs, as well as financial products that make it easier for consumers to make welfare-enhancing financial decisions. In addition, we support small-scale pilots to develop nascent products and programs into mature interventions that are ready to be evaluated. New evaluations and pilots are selected for funding through periodic open calls for proposals and through Initiative-run training and matchmaking programs that connect practitioners with researchers.