Media Coverage
August 13, 2009

IPA Research Affiliate Eldar Shafir discusses the book "Insufficient Funds: Savings, Assets, Credit and Banking Among Low-Income Households."Â Research by Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan, another IPA Research Affiliate, is featured in the book.

Sukhmani Sethi
August 11, 2009

I need to give props to the Kiva Fellows, who work with many of the same microfinance institutions that partner with IPA in the field. (In Peru, IPA also works with Arariwa, Manuela Ramos, PRISMA, and used to work with Finca-Peru.)  Their day-to-day work is similar to that of some IPA Project Associates (except when we wrestle with STATA or are trying to avoid getting buried under an avalanche of twenty thousand surveys). In helping create profiles for the Kiva web site, they really get a sense of what the everyday life of microfinance clients is all about. And they tell great stories...

Media Coverage
July 24, 2009

Entering the current discussion on predatory lending is a study by JPAL member, Marianne Bertrand, that investigates whether better information on a payday loan's terms influences the decision to borrow.  The article also cites research by IPA affiliates Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir and mentions the work of Jonathan Zinnman and Dean Karlan in this field.

Jonathan Morduch
July 21, 2009


FAI invites you to two upcoming events:

ACCION USA Microfinance Council: Domestic Microfinance Panel Discussion

Location: The New School, 66 West 12th St., 5th Floor, Wollman Hall, NY, NY

Date: July 27, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.

Hear insights from FAI managing Director Jonathan Morduch, Gina Harmon (ACCION USA CEO), Lisa Servon (Dean of the New School for Management and Urban Policy).

Please RSVP by email or on Facebook.


Creating Sustainable Microfinance: A Panel Discussion

Location: Mercy Corps' Action Center to End World Hunger,...

Jonathan Morduch
July 16, 2009

In early June, I joined several hundred researchers at the First European Research Conference on Microfinance hosted by CERMi.  The three-day conference included presentations on a wide array of subjects including social responsibility, institutional governance and performance, and rural and informal microfinance. 

One striking aspect of the conference was the prolific use of data from the Mix Market.  The Mix Market database contains data on financial performance and outreach indicators for over 1,400 institutions.  The Mix was established to...

Alberto Chong, Dean Karlan, Martín Valdivia
July 07, 2009

How has Michael Jackson's death helped advance the cause of IPA? I've just come back from rural Cusco, Perú, where we were training credit officers for our newest project, where we use video and radio to help teach village bank clients concepts related to financial literacy. Earlier, I had talked to the credit officers about the importance of randomized trials, mentioned results from previous studies, outlined the indicators we were thinking of measuring, and explained relevant details about the assignment of treatment and control banks. I am sure I reminded them of a sanctimonious middle...

Media Coverage
June 25, 2009

Coupling business training with microloans is a practice that is growing in popularity.  This article cites an IPA study in Peru led by Dean Karlan and Martin Valdivia which found that the business training program improved outcomes for borrowers and surprisingly had a larger effect for those that expressed less interest in training at the outset of the program.

Dean Karlan, Leigh Linden
May 20, 2009

Once, expressing concern over some logistical difficulty, I was reassured by a headmaster, “Do not worry Sarah, we shall succeed.”  Such conversations tend to surprise me, as we’re introducing a savings scheme to an area defined by general distrust of financial services and particularly those having to do with savings.  In spite of this fact, and though the program’s pilot has only been running for a couple months, the scheme has generated an extremely positive response. 

In Uganda, we’re working on the design, implementation and eventual evaluation of what we’ve...

Media Coverage
May 10, 2009

IPA Research Affiliate Jonathan Zinman is quoted in this Parade Magazine article about why Americans find it so difficult to save, drawing on behavioral theory. Zinman cites the propensity of people to discount the impact of compound interest on today's savings as a reason why they don't save as much as they want to.

April 22, 2009

Check out two recent blog posts that describe the importance of experiments in making smart decisions about microcredit programs and other business ventures.

David Roodman of the Center for Global Development does a good job of explaining the difference between experimental and non-experimental studies on his Microfinance Open Book Blog. Steven Levitt featured a Financial Times article about business experimentation on his Freakonomics blog. 
Angela Ambroz
Dean Karlan, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher Udry
April 10, 2009

We were pleased to see Bill Easterly highlight The Hunger Project, a partner of our's in Ghana, on his blog, Aid Watch.  In fact, it wasn't necessary for skepticism to take a full day off because there is a rigorous evaluation of the project underway.  With funding from the Robertson Foundation, researchers at Yale, Berkeley and IPA have just begun a study of the project's impact on the communities in Eastern Ghana.  

The interesting thing about this project is the impressive committment of THP to not only the mission of...

Malawian farmers gather around a computer to observe the fingerprinting technology used in the study.
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.

In contrast, banks in poorer countries are starving for information about potential clients. Financial histories are next to non-existent in most places. Banks often rely on nothing more than self-...

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?

Many microfinance institutions insist that their loans be used for productive purposes, mainly because they want to help poor households generate revenues, and also because they want to ensure that people will be able to...

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?”

Perhaps these questions come from confusion over the large differences between the economies of the developed versus developing world.  About 13% of the labor force in the developed world is self-employed versus about 49% in the developing world (my estimates using ILO data).  Additionally, the industries of the self-employed in the developed world and the developing differ a lot (in the developed world people think of...

Media Coverage
June 24, 2008

FAI Managing Director Jonathan Morduch talks to NPR's Marketplace about domestic microfinance.


To listen to the full interview - Marketplace