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Tugela Rid
November 05, 2015

Digital technology is rapidly changing the way we design and offer financial products. Consumers who were unreachable by brick-and-mortar banks can now access formal financial services quickly and cheaply through their mobile phones or prepaid cards. But while digital financial services (DFS) offer a multitude of benefits for the poor, they are not without their own set of challenges.

Experts from over 30 countries recently met in Antalya, Turkey for Responsible Finance Forum VI (RFF VI) to discuss these challenges and devise a set of actions to address them. Co-organized by...

Media Coverage
November 02, 2015

A rigorous set of studies published in January has helped to more firmly establish microcredit’s limitations. A team of leading microfinance academics from Yale, Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology compared the gains in living standards among borrowers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Mongolia, and Morocco with those of non-borrowers, measuring household consumption and income. The researchers concluded that, in all six countries, microcredit’s benefits were moderate, at best, and not transformational.

Dean Karlan
October 13, 2015


On Friday IPA founder and Yale economist Dean Karlan testified in front of a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, alongside Martin Ravallion of Georgetown University,  Patrick Chovanec of the Silvercrest Asset Management Group, and Scott Morris, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. The hearing was about the future of multilateral investment banks (organizations such as the World Bank), but touched on many issues in how governments and large donors view development.

In his testimony (PDF of the expanded writtern...
Press Release
September 17, 2015

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) today announced the upcoming launch of Financial Inclusion 2020 (FI2020) Week, taking place from November 2-6, 2015. During the week, stakeholders from across the globe will organize and participate in conversations and events to explore the most important steps for achieving financial inclusion – access to financial services for low-income people – by 2020.

Press Release
September 09, 2015

ANTALYA, Turkey, September 9, 2015: How are phones and cards changing the ways the global poor access and manage their money, and what should governments and financial institutions do to ensure innovative products and services meet the need of lowincome customers? These and related topics were the subject of intense discussion and debate by leading global experts at a G20-backed event this week in Antalya, Turkey, one of the countries being transformed by digital innovation.

The sixth annual Responsible Finance Forum, held on September 7-9, convened more than 130 senior financial...

Deba Prasad Roy
September 02, 2015

By Jamie Zimmerman   Editor's note, this is a cross posting by CGAP, which originally appeared on their blog. IPA, CGAP and others will be partnering to address these issues in the upcoming Responsible Finance Forum.  

"A massive data breach at All-In-Pay, a digital payments provider has resulted in $15 billion loss of customer funds: government inquiry forthcoming."

  This is the hypothetical news headline most feared by participants at CGAP’s June 30th event, which released Doing Digital Finance Right, a focus note which explores how and why low-income customers of digital financial...
Media Coverage
August 17, 2015

The Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter American Development bank goes to the Dominican Republic to discuss financial inclusion and remittance recipients. Patner Banco Unión is working with IPA there to test using SMS messages for encouraging unbanked remittance recipients to save. Read the full blog post here (or in Spanish here), and more about IPA's financial inclusion work here.

Media Coverage
July 31, 2015

"We don’t have any final results yet from our study, which is funded by the World Bank, the SME Finance Forum, the Asian Development Bank, and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a research organization. But here’s what we’ve learned from pilot projects in Bangladesh: Seventy-three percent of workers had a savings goal in mind when they started work. After paying for things like rent, utility bills, loans, and transfers to distant family members, workers have just 25 percent of their earnings to get through 25 days of monthly expenses and save. Eight percent of workers report having to...
Press Release
June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 NEW HAVEN, CT:  Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) announced today a new $7.4 million grant to support research on product design innovations that enable the poor to access, use, and benefit from financial services. This Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant will help researchers design effective financial services and products to serve the billions of unbanked and underbanked adults around the developing world and accelerate their transition out of poverty. 

Access to safe and appropriate tools to mitigate risk, save, transact, and borrow money is an important...

Media Coverage
June 19, 2015

The Wall Street Journal Weekend Review section had front page feature on Innovations for Poverty Action and randomized controlled trials called "The Anti-Poverty Experiment." It explains how IPA approaches evidence-baesd policy through rigorous evaluations, and how the approach has changed the field, featuring perspective from Dean Karlan, Esther Duflo, Richard Thaler and others. The story also explains how behavioral economics is being integrated into anti-poverty programs and looks at several of them. It was also featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Real Clear Politics. An...

Media Coverage
May 15, 2015

IPA's Rules of Thumb study was mentioned the May 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review:

"A recent field experiment with small-business owners in the Dominican Republic found that teaching them the simple heuristic of keeping separate purses for business and personal life, and moving money from one to the other only once a month, had a much greater impact than conventional financial education. 'The big challenge is to know the realm of applications where these heuristics are useful, and where they are useless or even harm people,' says the MIT economist Antoinette Schoar, one of the...

Media Coverage
April 23, 2015

Writing in the Guardian Sustainable Business blog, Marc Gunther asks How should we gauge the success of poverty intervention? He reviews the new book 100 under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women, which discusses a number of innovations, and the work IPA and J-PAL are doing to evaluate effectiveness.

Media Coverage
April 23, 2015

IPA founder and President Dean Karlan of Yale, and Jonathan Zinman of Dartmouth write for the National Bureau of Economic Research in their new review Pricing and Marketing Household Financial Services in Developing Countries. In the article, they discuss the latest research from IPA and others on the best ways to extend financial services to the poor and in low income countries.

Media Coverage
April 09, 2015

Burkina Faso's Tribune profiles PI Lori Beaman and the role of randomized controlled trials in development using the project Agricultural Microfinance in Mali as an example. 

March 23, 2015

By Konstantin Peric & Jake Kendall   Editors Note: Our partner, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has asked us to share this announcement with the financial inclusion community.     Until recently, achieving financial inclusion for the world’s unbanked poor was a pressing goal with perplexing obstacles. But in several countries across Asia, Africa and beyond, a possible solution is starting to emerge. Mobile payment systems allowing users to maintain balances, make purchases, and send remittances with their phones have proven to be immensely popular—effectively providing hundreds...