J-PAL’s Finance Program brings together leading academics to expand both the understanding of how household and firms demand and use financial services and how financial service providers perform and engage in the market. The program is especially interested in recent financial innovations that are improving the quantity and quality of financial access for all levels of financial actors.
Recent evidence suggests that product innovations, new contract structures, and regulation can be effective tools for overcoming market failures. With public, private, and nonprofit institutions working to increase financial access around the world, the time is right to explore new ideas, expand conceptual frameworks, and collect compelling evidence in order to better understand financial constraints, especially among the poor, as well as the implications of alternative policy strategies.
To generate rigorous scientific evidence for best practices, J-PAL’s Finance Program works with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and uses randomized evaluations to measure the impact of specific interventions, assess efficacy of product and process innovations, and understand more about why financial markets fail in the first place.
The program will synthesize key insights and evidence while identifying new research areas that are conceptually and practically appropriate in expanding access to quality financial services as a mechanism to reduce poverty and spur economic development. By helping to define such a research agenda, the Finance Program provides a framework for decision-making built around rigorous evidence. This framework will help generate research that offers practical tools that policymakers, development practitioners, and donors can readily access and use to guide finance policy decisions.
The program also works collaboratively with the Policy Group at J-PAL and IPA to coordinate the dissemination of key findings in finance research to policymakers and to encourage and provide support for the scale-up and replication of successful programs in the field.