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.
In addition to supporting policymakers in applying evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, sector chairs and staff write policy insights that synthesize general lessons emerging from the research and condense results from evaluations in policy publications and evaluation summaries.
File: Policy publication
Providing large loans to small businesses in Egypt had no impact on profits for the average borrower, but entrepreneurs predicted in advance to be top performers saw much higher returns than their peers.
Findings on the impacts of microcredit continue to evolve. Early evidence from randomized evaluations in low- and middle-income countries showed that the classic microcredit model did not lead to transformative impacts on income or consumption for the average borrower across many contexts. However...
In Ghana, researchers worked with a bank that provides services to low-income customers with limited access to mainstream banking to evaluate the impact of sending pre-recorded informational voice calls and text messages on the adoption of mobile banking. Clients that received messages encouraging...
In the news
A study conducted by J-PAL affiliate Emily Breza in Bangladesh found that paying low-earning manufacturing workers digitally through a mobile banking service helps them improve their spending habits and gain more trust in banking systems while allowing them to learn more about finance technology.
In Bangladesh, researchers partnered with BRAC to evaluate the impact of repayment flexibility in loan contracts for microentrepreneurs. Repayment flexibility benefited traditional microfinance borrowers primarily through the provision of insurance, enabling riskier investments at lower default...