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Showing posts from June, 2012

MBVF and MFI: Similar yet Different?

The author (Gedeon Lim) is currently a summer intern with the CMF Knowledge Management Team. He arrived in India two weeks back and, coming from Singapore, his experience at CMF-IFMR and Chennai has been amazing. The food, the sights, the sounds and the people have been truly uniquely India to say the least.

Keen readers of microfinance blogs might recall David Roodman making this post awhile back on a quasi-experimental evaluation of Microcredit provision in Thailand where Kaboski & Townsend used an exogenous policy initiative, the “Million Baht Village Fund (MBVF)”, as a proxy to investigate the impact of microcredit provision. 
The full paper was recently published in Econometrica and, being foreign to the Indian Microfinance scene, I thought it might be interesting to see if a simple cross-country comparison could contribute to the generalizability of impact evaluations that CMF conducts in India, such as the widely-cited Spandana study.

Savings Dilemma

We often come across people who say that they are not earning enough to save or do not see how a savings account would help them. More often than not, as laymen we believe the story and even empathise with such people. As a researcher working at the Centre for Micro Finance, I have had this discussion many times with my colleagues and their thoughts on making a savings account mandatory for all the citizens of the country. As a colleague puts it, “I should not have an option to have a savings account, rather I should be born with one”, but the fundamental question is – Is the possession of a savings account sufficient enough, how important is it to maintain one? There is endless debate in the academic world on how a commitment savings product is more useful or how a savings product which gives more flexibility can encourage people to save more. But these are mostly product features, how do you convince people with the mindset, “I do not see any value in a savings account at all?”

Short-Sighted on Regulation?

A look at most news channels and even the financial news channels may not be a pleasant experience these days. The word 'crisis' has become a very commonly used word. Much of it has been reported, the question remains as to how many has understood the problems and challenges as far as financial services for the poor are concerned. What set out to alleviate the poor and their general welfare now needs a great deal of regulation and scrutiny.
Three areas that gained a lot of emphasis as a result of the crises are: consumer protection, micro-prudential regulation and systemic risk. Recently, Susan Thomas and Renuka Sane of the IGIDR (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research) penned a paper titled, 'What should regulation do in the field of micro-finance?' The paper makes an astute analysis of the role of policy in the crises that has affected the realm of micro-finance. Here is the link:- http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/WP-2012-012.pdf
Definitely, a great r…

Microcredit: Hero or Anti-Hero?

Is the glass half empty or half full? For the meaning of this phrase, click here