The poor in developing countries have limited access to bank accounts and generally rely on informal savings mechanisms. However, informal savings options alone are unable to meet all of a household’s financial needs, and households often report that having access to a savings account is their greatest financial need. Saving is critical to households whose income flows do not match their daily consumption needs, much less their need to plan for risks and make investments. IPA studies measure the impact of programs and products that seek to help the poor overcome practical and behavioral barriers to effective saving.

Lack of access to finance limits small business growth—a problem that is exacerbated for Muslim business-owners, many of whom do not take out traditional loans for religious reasons.


In an op-ed in the New York Times, David Leonhardt discusses the findings of IPA's evaluation of a Christian business training program in the Philippines. Leonhardt explores the results'...