informal_present_savings.jpg
CREDIT: 
Will Boase
Dean Karlan, Sendhil Mullainathan, Jonathan Zinman
August 19, 2009

Interesting example of the endowment effect from New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/dining/19note.html?8dpc

Summing up the quirky behaviors of his dining companions over his tenure as restaurant critic for the NY Times, Bruni describes the way his fellow diners--to whom he had randomly assigned dishes to be sampled--would become protective of "their" choices, defending their quality.

household_survey.jpg
CREDIT: 
Ishita Ahmed
June 19, 2009

We just completed the baseline survey for one of the projects I’m working on in Cagayan de Oro, the Philippines.  Consequently, I’ve been spending most of my time the last few weeks thinking about how to get good data.  Getting the right information might seem simple; figure out what you want to know about people and then ask them.  However, in practice getting good data proves much more difficult. 

fingerprinting.jpg
Malawian farmers gather around a computer to observe the fingerprinting technology used in the study.
CREDIT: 
Dean Yang
Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman
April 09, 2009

Banks in the developed world know a lot about applicants before deciding whether or not to lend them money. The transactions take place within a massive flow of detailed financial information including tax returns, credit scores, loan applications, and bank statements. An ocean of personal data follows people throughout their lives and determines their access to credit.

Media Coverage
March 05, 2009
IPA partners with a rural bank in Agusan del Norte Philippines have started a savings program to help smokers kick the habit by encouraging smokers to deposit their would be cigarette money into a savings account instead.
Banking in the Philippines
Jonathan Morduch
March 03, 2009

A recent post from Alex in the Philippines addressed the common uses of microfinance loans, which leads logically to two follow-up questions.  How do we actually know with any certainty what microfinance clients do with their loans given that money is fungible? And, secondly, should we care as long as the loans are paid back?

Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman
February 26, 2009

A frequent question that I get from friends and family members about the microfinance projects I work on for IPA is, “What do people actually do with the loans?”

Media Coverage
March 10, 2008
Cessation of smoking research conducted in the Philippines by Xavier Gine, Dean Karlan and Jon Zinman discussed in the NYTimes Freakonomics blog. Related Projects:The Impact of CARES Commitment Savings for Smoking Cessation in the Philippines
Media Coverage
January 24, 2008
Esther Duflo wondered whether there was anything that could be done about absentee teachers in rural India. She and colleague Rema Hanna tested the use of cameras to monitor teacher attendance (and salary incentives based on attendance records), and it worked. Related Projects:Encouraging Teacher Attendance through Monitoring with Cameras in Rural India
Media Coverage
December 18, 2006
The eleventh annual TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security awarded to Dean Karlan, President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action and Assistant Professor of Economics at Yale University, Nava Ashraf of Harvard Business School and Wesley Yin of the University of Chicago for their scholarly work on the importance of specialized savings products for the long-term financial security of the poor.
Media Coverage
August 02, 2006
The group lending model of microfinance in India can do with less stringency, according to Dean Karlan. Flexibility towards individual lending should be explored.

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