Microfinance research

microfinance research

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Financial Access Initiative

Jeanette Thomas

CGAP

NEW YORK, October 19, 2010 – More than 200 researchers, practitioners and business leaders will convene in New York for a first look at new research results on the impact of microfinance. This new research follows on the tails of an initial report released in 2009 of the first ever randomized evaluations of microfinance, which sparked a debate over whether and how much microfinance is helping the poor. The results of several new follow up studies will be presented at the Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference in New York and will offer new insight on how microfinance affects the lives of poor households around the world.

“The results of the first microfinance impact evaluations were controversial because the world was eager to find that one magic bullet that will finally “solve” poverty,” said Esther Duflo, co-author of one of the first impact evaluations of microfinance in India and professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The studies showed that microfinance is not magic. But while we didn’t discover that microfinance launches people out of poverty, we did discover that it’s making a very real difference to some people. The new, forthcoming research will help us discover more about who benefits from microfinance and help us design financial products that work better for the poor.”

The Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference has attracted senior researchers, policymakers, practitioners and investors who are committed to preparing the next generation of thinkers and leaders in microfinance and to the global expansion of financial markets in poor communities. The event is hosted by the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Moody's Corporation, Deutsche Bank and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).

Important new impact results from a randomized evaluation of a microfinance program in Morocco will be presented at the conference, along with evaluations of microsavings and microinsurance, and livelihood programs for the “ultra poor.” Conference sessions will be devoted to presenting new research on microfinance product design, social performance measurement, and consumer protection. Additionally, there will be sessions dedicated to bringing together researchers and practitioners to design future research on product design and financial inclusion that

will help usher in the next generation of services for the "bottom billion.”

Financial Access Initiative (FAI)

The Financial Access Initiative (FAI) is a consortium of leading development economists focused on substantially expanding access to quality financial services for low-income individuals, offering the next generation of thinking about microfinance. FAI is housed at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and led by managing director Jonathan Morduch and directors Dean Karlan (Yale University) and Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard University). FAI focuses on basic research and measurement tools that reveal the most effective means of implementing microfinance initiatives. FAI studies the value of microfinance by identifying the demand for financial services; the impact of financial access on incomes, businesses, and broader aspects of well-being; and mechanisms that can increase impact and scale of microfinance. For more information please visit www.financialaccess.org .

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a nonprofit organization that creates and evaluates solutions to social and development problems, and works to scale up successful ideas through implementation and dissemination to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors. More information at www.poverty-action.org .

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a network of 50 affiliated professors around the world who are united by their use of Randomized Evaluations (REs) to answer questions critical to poverty alleviation. J-PAL's mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. More information at www.povertyactionlab.org .

Moody’s Corporation

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which encompasses the growing array of Moody's non-ratings businesses including risk management software for financial institutions, quantitative credit analysis tools, economic research and data services, data and analytical tools for the structured finance market, and training and other professional services. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $1.8 billion in 2009, employs approximately 4,100 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 26 countries. Further information is available at www.moodys.com .

Source: www.cgap.org

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