There has been a recent trend of employers, financial service providers, and governments to move towards digital payments; after all, evidence suggests that digital payments are efficient, cheaper, and reduce corruption in the system. This coupled with the global influx of new digital financial products on the market, and the ubiquity of mobile phones in the developing world, has led to a lot of excitement about digital payments being a possible on-ramp to financial inclusion. However, we still have limited evidence to suggest that this is the case. A recent study in Afghanistan showed...
Among Southeast Asian Countries, Myanmar suffers particularly from flooding, cyclones, and landslides. For low-income populations, these natural disasters can be especially devastating, leading to child malnutrition and unsanitary conditions. Intellasia reports on how IPA Myanmar is partnering with Save the Children to generate evidence on the effectiveness of government-led cash transfer programs on child nutrition and hygiene.
Editor’s note: This cross-post originally appeared on the CGAP blog
Imagine a young married woman living in a small village in rural India. If the opportunities to work in the village are limited, she may choose to supplement her household’s income by participating in India’s federal workfare program — the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) — which provides rural households up to 100 days of work at a fixed minimum wage. In this scenario, the wages she earns through this scheme are deposited into a single household account, which is held in her...
The Wall Street Journal speaks with IPA affiliate and board member Taveneet Suri about her work with us studying the effects of M-PESA mobile money on Kenyan women's livelihoods.
M-Pesa, the world’s largest mobile money network, could be the key to poverty eradication in the developing world based on its success in Kenya where almost 200,000 households headed by women are living above the poverty line as a result of the innovation.
“What we saw over six years was impressive. When M-PESA came to an area, women shifted their occupations and their savings went up,” Thomson Reuters Foundation quoted Tavneet Suri, associate professor of Applied Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who took part in the research.
IPA Executive Director Annie Duflo and Senior Policy Communications Associate Jeff Mosenkis write about our work in The Washington Post. Arguing against prevailing views that the world is getting worse, they show that many measures of poverty have been improving, and cite four recent areas where we've learned what works. Read the full piece from the link below.
The Washington Post cites IPA's work in Kenya in a piece on how mobile money is reducing poverty, speaking to IPA board member Tavneet Suri.
Demonetisation and the subsequent push for the cashless economy have triggered a debate that was long overdue in the country. Leaving aside the political colours of the arguments, even those by some renowned economists, what is heartening is the fact that India is debating the impact of demonetisation and mobile-based transactions on the poor.
In a study published Friday in the journal Science, economists at MIT and Georgetown have found that a service allowing users to send and receive money on their mobile phones has significantly reduced poverty in Kenya.
Drive a few miles from the centre of Accra, the capital of Ghana, into the neat rows of houses that surround it and the paved roads disappear almost as quickly as the phone lines. Yet this has not dented the ambitions of Kwami Williams, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who is building a business processing moringa trees and exporting the resulting tea and cosmetic oils. Before mobile-phone usage exploded across Africa, starting a venture such as this on a shoestring would have been impossible—the costs of communicating with the thousands of smallholders who...
Almost 200,000 Kenyan households, many headed by poor, rural women, have lifted themselves out of poverty using mobile money services, experts said on Thursday, calling for the technology to be introduced in other developing countries.
The impact was most dramatic among single mothers who used M-Pesa, a text message-based mobile payment system, after switching from farming to business and retail sales, the journal Science found.
Mobile money, a service that allows monetary value to be stored on a mobile phone and sent to other users via text messages, has been adopted by the vast majority of Kenyan households. We estimate that access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty. The impacts, which are more pronounced for female-headed households, appear to be driven by changes in financial behavior—in particular, increased financial resilience and saving—and labor market outcomes, such as occupational...
National Public Radio's All Things Considered reports on the new study in Science on the effects of mobile money access for poor women in Kenya. Read or listen to the full story featuring IPA affiliates Tavneet Suri and Isaac Mbiti below.
There are many ways that gender inequality holds us back. But overall, the math is simple: Half the world’s population is financially stunted. As long as we keep suppressing the economic potential of women, we will never achieve the growth and prosperity we want.
The new study found that poor rural women in Kenya with access to a mobile phone-based service allowing them to send and receive payments at low cost shifted their occupations from agriculture to business and saved more. The combined effects reduced poverty for hundreds of thousands of households.
December 9, 2016 NEW HAVEN, CT – A new study today shows that the expansion of mobile money helped bring hundreds of thousands of Kenyans out poverty, especially those in female-headed households. The study, published in Science, examined how M-PESA, Kenya’s text message-based...