Conducting rigorous research on financial products can deliver key, actionable insights to financial institutions, but knowing how and when to work with academic researchers to develop a long-term research project can be complicated.
The SME Program held its Tenth Working Group meeting at the Sloan School of Management at MIT on November 15, 2019, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The meeting convened SME Program affiliates and friends to discuss innovative research around SMEs and entrepreneurship. Presentations included:
Lucia Sanchez, Innovations for Poverty Action
Building High-Growth Firms through Training the Owner versus through Linking the Firm to Business Service Markets
David McKenzie, The World Bank
The SME Program held its Ninth Working Group meeting at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University on October 20, 2018, in Evanston, Illinois. The meeting convened SME Program affiliates to discuss innovative research around SMEs and entrepreneurship. Presentations included:
Dean Karlan, Northwestern University
Shocking Business Aspirations: Experimental Evidence from Small-scale Entrepreneurs in a Developing Economy
Patricio Dalton, Tilburg University
Eric Edmonds, principal investigator, and Peter Srouji, Research Manager for IPA Philippines, were invited to speak at the US Department of Labor's Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Grantee Midterm Learning Workshop at the US Department of Labor (US DOL) in Washington, D.C. on August 10, 2017. Eric Edmonds' presentation was about parent-child differences in time allocation responses.
In this session, IPA’s Associate Director of Policy and Communications Heidi McAnnally-Linz shares examples of how IPA is using rigorous evidence to inform policy conversations in national governments from Peru to Ghana, and in sectors from education to social protection. She also highlights opportunities for effective altruists to leverage investments in rigorous evidence and achieve more impact.
Innovations for Poverty Action, Professor Jonathan Zinman (Dartmouth College), and Professor Dean Karlan (Yale University) partnered with RiteCheck to develop a safe savings product for check cashing customers. The researchers evaluated ways to encourage “impulse savings” at the teller window, testing how these savings accounts, coupled with prompts and incentives to make deposits, impacted savings behavior and customer loyalty.
On November 14, IPA’s Financial Inclusion Program co-sponsored a day-long workshop on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Financial Inclusion, held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event brought in about 40 attendees. Program Manager Kyle Holloway wrote a blog about some of the event’s takeaways:
On October 27th, IPA and J-PAL hosted a session at the Opportunity Finance Network Conference — "Randomized Control Trials: What your CDFI Needs to Know. " In the session, the US Finance Initiative at IPA discussed why RCTs are so powerful and how community development financial institutions can use RCTs to understand the impacts of their products and services.
On September 28th, IPA’s Financial Inclusion Program, together with JPMorgan Chase & Co., co-hosted a workshop on using behavioral insights in the financial sector. The event brought together top behavioral scientists from both academia and industry to present recent research on financial products and services, and how participants can integrate these lessons into their own work.
Lucia Sanchez, SME Program Director, participated in a panel discussion on "Data for Socially Inclusive Economic Growth” at ICSD 2016 in New York. Lucia’s presentation provided an overview of the key problems facing SMEs around access to finance, human capital, and markets, and showcased a series of interrelated research projects aimed at testing effective solutions to those problems. She also shared IPA’s experience bringing together policymakers and researchers to design and rigorously test innovative solutions to the most binding constraints to SME growth in developing countries.
The SME Program held its Sixth Working Group meeting at the MIT Sloan School of Management on November 20, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The meeting convened SME Program affiliates to discuss innovative research in the SME space.
Welcome & Overview
Lucia Sánchez, Innovations for Poverty Action
“The Growth of New Firms”
Jean-Noël Barrot, MIT Sloan School of Management
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have grown in popularity among for-profit and not-for-profit financial service providers alike, due to their accuracy in evaluating both bottom-line and social mission impacts. But many organizations struggle to understand exactly what RCTs are, and how to begin using RCTs for decision-making.
In this free webinar, we discuss why RCTs are so powerful and how financial service providers can use RCTs to understand the impacts of their products and services. Specifically, we cover:
Garret Christensen (Assistant Project Scientist, BITSS) represented BITSS at a conference on Reproducibility in Federal Evaluations organized by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Dean Karlan (Yale; President, IPA; Chair, J-PAL's Finance Program), Rachel Glennerster (Executive Director, J-PAL; IPA Affiliate), and Stephanie Wykstra (Research Manager, IPA) also participated in the conference....
Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan (Global Financial Inclusion Initiative Director, IPA) participated in a roundtable with leading policymakers, industry representatives, and thought leaders from the public, non-profit, and private sectors to discuss the status and role of standard-setting bodies with respect to financial inclusion. The roundtable was held at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.
On 12 October, 2014, Dean Karlan, Academic Lead for the Financial Inclusion Program, served as a panelist for a discussion on technology and financial inclusion at the Future of Finance Seminar at the International Monetary Fund’s 2014 Annual Meetings. Watch a video of the panel discussion on the event website.