Standard models of investment predict that credit-constrained firms should grow rapidly when given additional capital, and that how this capital is provided should not a§ect decisions to invest in the business or consume the capital. We randomly gave cash and in-kind grants to male- and female-owned microenterprises in urban Ghana. For women running subsistence enterprises we find no gain in profits from either treatment. For women with larger businesses we strongly reject equality of the cash and in-kind grants; only in-kind grants cause growth in profits, suggesting a flypaper e§ect whereby capital coming directly into the business sticks there, but cash does not. The results for men also suggest a lower impact of cash, but di§erences between cash and in-kind grants are less robust. There is suggestive evidence that the di§erence in the e§ects of cash and in-kind grants is associated more with lack of self-control than with external pressure.
The investment decisions of small scale farmers in developing countries are conditioned by their financial environment. Binding credit market constraints and incomplete insurance can limit investment in activities with high expected profits. We conducted several experiments in northern Ghana in which farmers were randomly assigned to receive cash grants, grants of or opportunities to purchase rainfall index insurance, or a combination of the two. Demand for index insurance is strong, and insurance leads to significantly larger agricultural investment and riskier production choices in agriculture. The binding constraint to farmer investment is uninsured risk: When provided with insurance against the primary catastrophic risk they face, farmers are able to find resources to increase expenditure on their farms. Demand for insurance in subsequent years is strongly increasing with the farmer’s own receipt of insurance payouts, with the receipt of payouts by others in the farmer’s social network and with recent poor rain in the village. Both investment patterns and the demand for index insurance are consistent with the presence of important basis risk associated with the index insurance, imperfect trust that promised payouts will be delivered and overweighting recent events.
In 2013 IPA celebrated ten years of producing high-quality evidence about what works, and what does not work, to improve the lives of the poor. It was a year of celebration for our accomplishments. More so, it was a time to prepare our organization for the next phase as we continue to pursue our vision of a world with More Evidence and Less Poverty.
View an online version of the report at annualreport.poverty-action.org/2013annualreport/
Despite the fact that national health insurance has been available in Ghana since 2003, the coverage is far from universal, especially in rural areas. This study evaluates a consumer education intervention for microfinance clients by Freedom from Hunger and Sinapi Aba Trust designed to increase awareness, knowledge and eventually take-up rates of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Designed as a randomized control trial, the study looked at two methods of providing health education to clients of microfinance institutions (MFIs) as well as a “reminder” session provided one year later. Findings indicated no significant differences in health insurance enrollment rates between the treatment groups and control group, by type of education or for those who got reminder sessions. The education may not have had a large impact because baseline enrollment and knowledge of insurance was already high, suggesting that knowledge was not a barrier to enrollment. Rather, it appears that convenience of registration and clients following through on stated intent to enroll, and the timing of making the premium payments are more common challenges for enrollment. In environments where knowledge and enrollment are low, educational programs may have more impact. Enrollment increased for the studied groups at a higher rate than the general population. It is possible that the repeated surveys, along with the treatment activities, might have served as “touch points” that prompted clients to take action to register or enroll in insurance. There are several important opportunities for greater engagement of MFIs and similar organizations to increase uptake of health insurance enrollment among the poor that emerge from this study and its findings. Governments seek sustained methods to enroll and retain informal-sector families in health insurance schemes. MFIs that have field agents who meet regularly with clients are well positioned to partner with public schemes to promote insurance, deliver education about client- value and provide needed prompts and reminders regarding enrollment and re-enrollment. MFIs also have the capacity to provide financing products (small loans) to mitigate enrollment barriers related to having cash on hand at the time of enrollment.
Despite the fact that national health insurance has been available in Ghana since 2003, the coverage is far from universal, especially in rural areas. This study evaluates a consumer education intervention for microfinance clients by Freedom from Hunger and Sinapi Aba Trust designed to increase awareness, knowledge and eventually take-up rates of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Incentive pay is a key component of management strategy, and yet field evidence on the impacts of both individual and team incentives is limited to studies carried out in high-income countries. The mechanisms that lie behind individual responses to incentives go far beyond rational considerations of wage maximization, and encompass concerns for social visibility, preferences for collective work and other behavioral norms. These norms tend to vary by culture, potentially creating considerable heterogeneity in responses to incentives across countries. We present evidence from a field experiment designed to evaluate the impact of individual and group monetary incentives and individual and group rank incentives in Accra, Ghana. We precisely estimate that, contrary to earlier findings in other settings, these incentives have no impact on productivity, work quality and firm profitability. The findings indicate that more research is needed to shed light on the cultural characteristics of the setting that determines whether performance pay is effective.