IPA founder Dean Karlan speaks alongside banking and financial inclusion experts and providers on NPR's Studio 1A program. Among the many points discussed was research showing mixed effectiveness of many well-intentioned financial inclusion efforts, including small loans designed to build credit scores for those previously outside the financial system. A randomized evaluation conducted with IPA found the average impact was zero, but that was because the loans helped some and hurt others. Karlan points out the need for more systematic testing of financial products designed to help the poor and unbanked in the U.S. to improve their design and better understand their impacts.
April 30, 2021