Original abstracts from the papers in the database are provided below. All abstracts are drawn directly from the papers referenced. Links to access the papers are provided, although
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Atkinson, de Janvry, McIntosh and Sadoulet (2010)
We report on an experiment in which a new set of commercial savings products, informed by the behavioral finance literature, were offered to the microfinance borrowers of Guatemala's largest public-sector bank. We find that prompting savings at the time of loan repayment leads savings deposits to double relative to the control, and framing a contribution of 10% of the loan payment causes them to double again. Loan repayment and savings accumulation appear to be complementary. Mainstreaming the most successful product tested here would allow the bank to realize savings sufficient to leverage 50% of the short-term loan portfolio.
Intervention settings: N/A (locations unspecified).
Intervention description: New commercial savings products, with no financial incentives or penalties, were offered to existing borrowers.
Sample: 1,375 borrowers from 20 microfinance branches of Guatemala's largest public sector bank.
Findings: Prompting for savings at the time of loan payments doubles savings, while suggesting a savings deposit equal to 10% of the loan repayment causes savings to double again. Women are significantly more likely to take up the offer of a savings account. However, women's accumulated net savings are significantly lower overall.
Drexler, Fischer, and Schoar (2012)
Individuals and business owners engage in an increasingly complex array of financial decisions that are critical for their success and well-being. Yet a growing literature documents that in both developed and developing countries, a large fraction of the population is unprepared to make these decisions. Evidence on potential remedies is limited and mixed. Two randomized trials test the impact of financial training on firm-level and individual outcomes for microentrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic. We find no significant effect from a standard, fundamentals-based accounting training. However, a simplified, rule-of-thumb training produced significant and economically meaningful improvements in business practices and outcomes.
Intervention settings: Urban (Santo Domingo).
Intervention description: Comparison between: 1) Standard, fundamentals-based accounting training & 2) a simplified, rule-of-thumb training that teaches basic heuristics to manage finances.
Sample: 1,193 business or personal loan clients (90% women).
Findings: Only rule-of-thumb training produced significant improvements in business practices and outcomes (by 6-12% relative to control). Increase in sales in bad weeks. Impact pronounced for micro-entrepreneurs with poor financial literacy upfront. Impacts suggest reducing complexity of training program.
Microfinance and Poverty: Using Panel Data from BangladeshKhandker (2005)
Microfinance supports mainly informal activities that often have a low return and low market demand. It may therefore be hypothesized that the aggregate poverty impact of microfinance is modest or even nonexistent. If true, the poverty impact of microfinance observed at the participant level represents either income redistribution or short-run income generation from the microfinance intervention. This article examines the effects of microfinance on poverty reduction at both the participant and the aggregate levels using panel data from Bangladesh. The results suggest that access to microfinance contributes to poverty reduction, especially for female participants, and to overall poverty reduction at the village level. Microfinance thus helps not only poor participants but also the local economy.
Intervention settings: Rural.
Intervention description: Group-liability credit for income-generation activity. Some loans for consumption and housing.
Methodology: Ex-post evaluation with panel data of clients and non-clients.
Sample: Mainly women; very poor and poor.
Findings: Credit led to much higher poverty reduction among women clients' HHs than among men's. Slightly higher impact on HHs in exterme poverty, than those in moderate poverty. MF accounts for more than half of the 3% decline in poverty among clients. Female borrowing has a positive effect on HH food consumption (male borrowing has no effect).
Subsidizing Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized TrialAttanasio et al (2011)
This paper evaluates the impact of a randomized training program for disadvantaged youth introduced in Colombia in 2005. This randomized trial offers a unique opportunity to examine the impact of training in a middle income country. We use originally collected data on individuals randomly offered and not offered training. The program raises earnings and employment for women. Women offered training earn 19.6 percent more and have a 0.068 higher probability of paid employment than those not offered training, mainly in formal-sector jobs. Cost-benefit analysis of these results suggests that the program generates much larger net gains than those found in developed countries. (JEL I28, J13, J24, O15)
Intervention settings: Rural.
Intervention description: One treatment group was offered a group lending product, while the other was offered an individual lending product. Randomization was done at the village level.
Sample: 4,353 individuals.
Findings: Significant increase in business ownership (10%), food consumption (17%) and asset ownership among those offered a group lending product.No effect among those offered an individual lending product. No significant effect on household income. No difference in repayment rates between the two treatment groups.
Dupas and Robinson (2009)
Does limited access to formal savings services impede business growth in poor countries? To shed light on this question, we randomized access to non-interest-bearing bank accounts among two types of self-employed individuals in rural Kenya: market vendors (who are mostly women) and men working as bicycle-taxi drivers. Despite large withdrawal fees, a substantial share of market women used the accounts, were able to save more, and increased their productive investment and private expenditures. We see no impact for bicycle-taxi drivers. These results imply significant barriers to savings and investment for market women in our study context. Further work is needed to understand what those barriers are, and to test whether the results generalize to other types of businesses or individuals.
Intervention settings: Rural.
Intervention description: Individual commitment savings products offered by a village bank. Interest-free account; high withdrawal fees. Tested the importance of savings constraints for self-employed individuals.
Methodology: RCT - Moderate rigor (small sample size).
Sample: 185 microentpreneurs.
Findings: Positive impact of savings on business investment among women (40% increase). Increase in women's private expenditures (37 to 40% higher). Some impact on making women less vulnerable to health shocks. No effect for men.