In countries with conditional cash transfer programs, volunteers or modestly-paid community workers often play a significant role in supporting beneficiaries in complying with the program requirements upon which their cash transfers are conditioned.
Low-income women disproportionately lack access to credit in developing countries, often because they are less likely to have credit histories, property rights, or formal earnings. Researchers are partnering with a bank and a mobile money operator in the Dominican Republic to evaluate the impact of credit scoring models designed specifically for women on access to credit.
There is a growing body of evidence on the efficacy of SMS reminders to encourage banking clients to save more. Researchers in the Dominican Republic partnered with savings and credit institution Banco Unión to conduct two randomized evaluations of tailored SMS reminders: The first on their ability to influence remittance recipients’ decisions to open savings accounts, and the second on their ability to influence existing account-holders’ decisions to save.
Despite the initial promise of microcredit, randomized evaluations have found at best modest effects of microloans on poverty. Digitized payments from government cash transfer programs provide a unique opportunity to offer microcredit while addressing some of its shortcomings, potentially reducing interest rates, default risk, and repayment issues.
Evidence suggests that facilitating access to formal savings services can increase savings, investment, and income among the poor in developing countries. However, use of these accounts is relatively low, and it is less clear how to increase interest in, and usage of, formal savings services among the poor.
A simplified financial training based on “rules of thumb” improved business practices and outcomes among microentrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic, while standard, fundamentals-based accounting training produced no significant effect.
Major bank mergers in the last few years have highlighted the debate about the effect of bank concentration. This debate has been extensively studied in the finance literature without conclusive results. While some studies find that bank concentration reduces access to credit, deters economic growth, and increases unemployment, others find that bank concentration increases access to credit, and can foster economic growth.
Conditional cash transfers have proven effective as incentives for the extreme poor to visit a health clinic or send their children to school. But are such programs sustainable? If the cash assistance is taken away, will families find themselves back where they started before the program? In this study, researchers evaluate if financial education and business training can help recipients graduate from a conditional cash transfer program, and what type of training is most beneficial.