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.

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Seven randomized evaluations from around the world show that microcredit does not have a transformative impact on poverty, but it can give low-income households more freedom in optimizing the ways...


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...


How Does Winning the Lottery Affect Labor Supply? Evidence from Sweden

Understanding how individuals adjust their labor supply in response to cash transfers is a key consideration when designing economic policies. Researchers used data on lottery winners in Sweden to...

Person stands in field in Kenya


Basic income could transform society. But first, it needs to be tested.

Researchers involved in the largest and longest evaluation of a basic income yet conducted discuss how rigorous research on such programs is of high interest to governments across the world.

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Cash as Capital

The authors of this article, many of them J-PAL affiliates, discuss the need for long-term evaluations of cash transfer programs at scale to better understand how to create sustained improvements in...

Sector Chairs

Headshot of Dean Karlan

Dean Karlan


Sector Contacts