Financial Inclusion

Asim Khwaja on Evidence for Policy Design

Asim Khwaja on Evidence for Policy Design

September 29, 2015

By Doug Gavel - Harvard Kennedy School

When development economists conduct research, one of the goals is to help practitioners and policymakers create better policies in countries struggling with a host of educational, political, and financial challenges. Asim Ijaz Khwaja is the Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at Harvard Kennedy School, and co-director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Center for International Development.

Paper Clip: Mixing friendship and business can help

Paper Clip: Mixing friendship and business can help

July 7, 2015
By Erica Field, Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, and Natalia Rigol - The Indian Express


Efforts to make low-income woman entrepreneurs in developing countries more successful through business training and counselling have yielded mixed results. Researchers have, therefore, looked for other factors that can impact the success of micro-enterprises. One such factor is peer interaction — but the evidence around peer effects at work has so far been limited.

A Friend’s Support Can Make Women Better Entrepreneurs

A Friend’s Support Can Make Women Better Entrepreneurs

June 19, 2015

By Erica Field, Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, and Natalia Rigol - Harvard Business Review

The people we choose to surround ourselves with often matter a great deal to our success — especially when we are trying to thrive as entrepreneurs. That’s because spending time alongside other motivated and successful people can have positive effects on our own success. 

14 tips for building a financial system from scratch

14 tips for building a financial system from scratch

May 26, 2015

The Guardian

What should 21st-century banking services look like in the global south? Here’s our panel’s thoughts on how to build banks where none exist.

Harness the potential of banking agents: Liquidity and accountability are key to their success. For instance, how do you incentivise agents to get customers? And how you monitor them to ensure they’re not syphoning off payments meant for poor, illiterate customers who are depending on them, not just for access but for guidance? Rohini Pande, professor of public policy, Read more about 14 tips for building a financial system from scratch

How Does Innovation Happen, in the Financial Inclusion Movement and Elsewhere?

How Does Innovation Happen, in the Financial Inclusion Movement and Elsewhere?

March 12, 2015

By V. McIntyre - Center for Financial Inclusion

Rohini Pande and her colleagues recently researched whether changing some features of a loan contract can alter its impact for the women who choose to take them up. Certain aspects of the classic microfinance loan contract, developed by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in the 1970s and still prevalent today in South Asia, seem more conducive to some business activities than others.

NexThought Monday - The (Financial) Wisdom of the Crowd: How a group of non-experts outperformed traditional credit ratings at identifying good and bad borrowers

NexThought Monday - The (Financial) Wisdom of the Crowd: How a group of non-experts outperformed traditional credit ratings at identifying good and bad borrowers

March 9, 2015

By V. McIntyre - Next Billion

Determining risk has always been a hurdle for financial inclusion practitioners, as well as a barrier for small and micro-businesses looking to expand. But if non-traditional measures prove dependable, they may fill the information gap and make lending to poor entrepreneurs and small businesses more feasible...Working with the American P2P website Prosper.com, Asim Khwaja...and coauthors Rajkamal Iyer, Erzo F.P. Luttmer and Kelly Shue analyzed 194,033 borrower listings from the site, 17,212 of which were funded.

Read more about NexThought Monday - The (Financial) Wisdom of the Crowd: How a group of non-experts outperformed traditional credit ratings at identifying good and bad borrowers

Doorstep banking in rural Sri Lanka increases customer savings … and income

Doorstep banking in rural Sri Lanka increases customer savings … and income

February 3, 2015

By Michael Callen, Suresh de Mel, Craig Macintosh, Christopher Woodruff - VoxEU

Recent findings in development economics indicate that microloans are likely to perform best when accompanied by financial education, insurance, and savings products. This column presents evidence from a natural experiment in Sri Lanka, which involved door-to-door collection services among rural households.

The evidence suggests that the programme increased both savings and income. In order to build up savings in the initial period, participants increased the hours Read more about Doorstep banking in rural Sri Lanka increases customer savings … and income

This transaction is still incomplete

This transaction is still incomplete

October 24, 2014

By By Erica Field, Charity Troyer Moore, Rohini Pande, Natalia, Rigol and Simone Schaner - The Indian Express

Earlier this month, the ministry of finance announced that over 50 million new bank accounts have been opened and 17 million debit cards issued since the launch of a bold new plan to grant financial access to the poor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this initiative, called the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), in a speech in August. Its ultimate goal is to reach 150 million unbanked rural poor people, giving them formal accounts that come with Read more about This transaction is still incomplete

Day One at “Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Smart Design for Policy and Practice” Penicillin Versus the Magic Bullet, or, Why Data is Not a Mere Annoyance

Day One at “Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Smart Design for Policy and Practice” Penicillin Versus the Magic Bullet, or, Why Data is Not a Mere Annoyance

April 3, 2014

Posted by V. McIntyre, Freelance Writer for the Harvard Kennedy School
The Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is building a movement toward full financial inclusion by 2020. This blog series spotlights financial inclusion efforts around the globe, shares insights from the FI2020 consultative process and highlights findings from “Mapping the Invisible Market.”
On February 23, Rohini Pande opened classroom Read more about Day One at “Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Smart Design for Policy and Practice” Penicillin Versus the Magic Bullet, or, Why Data is Not a Mere Annoyance

New study raises questions about conventional microfinance payment plans

New study raises questions about conventional microfinance payment plans

October 11, 2013

HKS Communications
By Doug Gavel
Even a small delay in when microfinance loan repayments start can create large economic gains for micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries. That is one takeaway from a new research paper co-authored by Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy. In "Does the Classic Microfinance Model Discourage Entrepreneurship Among the Poor?" Pande and her co-authors conducted a field experiment Read more about New study raises questions about conventional microfinance payment plans