Despite the availability of new agricultural technologies, which may increase yields and household income, few farmers in the Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa are using improved seeds and fertilizer.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are thought to be important drivers of growth in developing economies, but entrepreneurs in these countries face many barriers, including access to business training, finance, and business networks. In Bogotá, Colombia, Fundación Bavaria’s “Destapa Futuro” (Open the Future) program identifies promising enterprises and provides them with a suite of financial, technical, business and training resources.
Savings can provide a safety net for the poorest, allowing them to create a cushion against risks, build assets for their future, and smooth income during periods of low income. However, the majority of the world’s poor does not have access to formal savings mechanisms, and instead are forced to save informally through such methods as hiding money in their homes, or purchasing assets such as jewelry and livestock. These methods tend to be risky, inefficient and costly. In addition, there h
Financial products have the potential to help the poor, yet most financial institutions are driven by commercial goals, and their staff may not be incentivized to offer products most suitable to low-income clients. In this study in Peru, participants visited banks and pretended to be shopping for financial products in order to gather information on how bank staff treat different types of clients.
Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to investigate the demand for commitment savings products or financial counseling, and the impacts these products and services have on savings, among a sample of low- and moderate-income credit union members in New York City. Analysis of the effect of these financial products on savings, borrowing, and credit scores is ongoing.
Farmers in western Kenya have limited knowledge of farm inputs suitable for the agro-ecological conditions they face, and use of agricultural inputs in the region is low. This study in western Kenya evaluates how farmer experimentation and learning about different inputs impacts farmers’ subsequent use of high-quality inputs and the productivity of their farms.
Child stunting has been associated with exposure to aflatoxin, a toxin produced by a fungus that affects crops such as maize, groundnuts, and sorghum. However, the causal relationship between aflatoxin exposure and height-for-age child growth has not been demonstrated.
Many people in developing countries rely on risky and expensive methods of managing their assets. In this study, researchers are evaluating whether lowering the cost of accessing savings accounts through local point-of-sale enabled agents and providing financial literacy training impacts the saving and consumption patterns of cash transfer beneficiaries in rural Peru.
Poor sanitation in the developing world leads to major diseases, increased public health expenditures, and causes childhood diarrhea, a leading cause of mortality in children under five.1 To explore how market interventions can be designed to address the unique sanitation challenges faced in developing countries, this project will design and test alternative pricing structures and evaluate their impact on the take-up of im
Americans who have difficulty formally accessing credit from conventional financial institutions often turn to costly products such as high-interest pawn and payday loans or bank account overdrafts. Researchers in this study have partnered with a community development credit union to evaluate the demand for safe, affordable, and transparent small dollar loans, and the impact of behaviorally-informed product features on the financial capability of credit union members.
Access to rural finance is considered a key tool to reduce poverty among farmers, yet existing microcredit models have shown limited capacity to increase profitability for these farmers. Improved approaches may address the behavioral constraints that farmers face, such as the temptation to sell when cash is needed but prices for crops are low.
Many local bureaucrats operate in settings with weak institutions and limited oversight, resulting in poor service delivery. A growing number of initiatives and studies seek to address this by empowering communities to monitor front-line service providers directly. This study tests another avenue: Empowering local politicians, who have the mandate but often lack the tools to monitor local bureaucrats, who in turn oversee front-line service providers.
As girls pass through adolescence, a number of factors influence whether they complete secondary school, avoid teenage pregnancy, and develop the life skills, attitudes, behaviors and relationships that will set them on a path to a healthy and productive adulthood. This evaluation investigates whether being part of a mentorship and life skills program, “Sisters of Success,” during early adolescence improves outcomes for girls in Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia.
This project develops a credit scoring system that is based on customer transactions rather than a purely characteristics-based screening approach. In developing countries where credit bureau information is often not available or unreliable, transaction-based lending models allow ‘good’ applicants to demonstrate their quality. The project will identify different customer transaction patterns and account usage behaviors and test their predictive power for repayment behavior of SMEs.
Farmers may vary in their suitability as experimenters with new agricultural technologies. For example, farmers likely differ in their beliefs regarding the possible returns of the technology, in their willingness to take risks with an unknown product or process, and in their social skills and willingness to share information with others.
Research suggests that children who grow up in violent environments are more likely to use aggression to resolve conflicts, and that exposure to such violence can impact student learning. In addition, some studies indicate that it is important for children to build skills that enable them to develop sympathy and empathy for others, and maintain positive relationships.
Previous research suggests that in many developing countries businesses are less productive on average than their counterparts in developed countries. Additionally, productivity across firms varies more in developing countries than in developed countries. These market characteristics suggest that the forces of competition, growth, and innovation that tend to drive productivity in developed countries may be weaker in developing countries.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are thought to be an important source of innovation and employment in developing countries due to their flexibility in responding to new market opportunities and their potential for growth. However, businesses in developing countries face a number of constraints that may limit their growth and the sector’s contribution to poverty alleviation and long-term economic growth.