J-PAL’s Finance sector measures the impact of financial services, products, and process innovations, and tries to understand how access to financial services can be used as a mechanism to reduce poverty and spur economic development.

Low-income households need effective financial tools to help manage and grow their money. Yet many of the financial services they can access are costly, unsafe, or not well-suited to their needs. To support financial inclusion efforts around the world, the Financial Inclusion Program at IPA partners with service providers, governments, and researchers to design and rigorously test financial services and programs encouraging healthy financial behavior among the poor. The Financial Inclusion Program manages several initiatives that fund research in the US and globally.

See IPA's Social Protection Program and Small and Medium Enterprise Program for research on those topics.

Man bends over between rows of sugarcane


Agricultural Microinsurance for Sugar Cane Farmers in Kenya

Farming is risky: a drought, bad harvest, or dip in crop prices can leave small farmers in developing countries without a steady income throughout the year. Attempts to mitigate these risks with...

warehouse full of sacks of brown tobacco leaves


Reducing Barriers to Savings in Rural Malawi

Researchers analyzed the effect of reducing barriers to saving in rural Malawi on savings behavior, investment in agricultural inputs, and consumption. They found that farmers with access to formal...


No ATM fees: How ROSCAs use social networks and trust to help people save money

Lori Beaman discusses her evaluation of a ROSCA in Mali, showing that the association helped improve food security during the period when food stocks are typically lowest.


Early insights from the first field test of universal basic income

J-PAL Affiliate Paul Niehaus (University of California, Berkeley) weighs in on a pilot program in Kenya that is among the first field tests of universal basic income — the idea of providing everyone...


Crop insurance: Low demand calls for rethink

The Indian Express featured a summary of J-PAL's bulletin, Make it Rain, which discusses the low demand among farmers for weather index insurance.

Sector Chairs

Dean Karlan


Sector Contacts