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Showing posts from January, 2014

A Fresh Look at Informal Finance in Chennai

Here's an excerpt from a blogpost published by our researchers, Amy Mowl and Ben Sprungkeyser on ACCION's Centre for Financial Inclusion blog featuring their work on informal finance in Chennai. There is revived interest in the role of informal credit in India, with researchers using a variety of innovative tools to study informal products and theirdelivery channels. While the majority of informal loans may come from professional moneylenders, such lenders are not the only source of informal credit for micro and small entrepreneurs. Indeed, for households, non-bank credit is provided by a wide range of players, including moneylenders, unregulated pawn brokers and chit funds, employers and local shopkeepers, and caste and kin networks. Interested in the range of alternative informal credit options available to businesses, we decided to take a fresh look at informal credit products in a major wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Chennai. The result: we found a market for altern…

The Poverty of Decision Making

Here's an excerpt from an article published by The New Indian Express that features our work on the impact of poverty on cognitive function.
What remains key to how we make decisions is the context that we are in, according to a recent study that helps us understand how decision-making works in the context of poverty. The study, Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function, by Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan along with Anandi Mani (Warwick), Eldar Shafir (Princeton) and Jiaying Zhao (UBC), discovers that the state of being poor itself may be constraining a person’s mental capabilities from making wise choices, and that the magnitude of impact of bad choices is larger in the case of the poor, oftentimes with grave implications. Therefore, it is not that poor people make bad decisions; rather, it is the context the poor inhabit that makes them choose badly. Poverty drains poor people’s energy, depletes their cognitive resources, and compels them to make sub-optimal decisions.

The poor ar…

5th Annual IMTFI Conference - Understanding the Movement of Cash of Privately led Enterprises in Dharavi and Scope for Electronic or Mobile Payments

The Institute of Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) held its fifth annual conference on December 2, 2013 where IMTFI fellowship award receipts presented their preliminary findings. The award was granted to assess technological infrastructures being developed as carriers of mainstream and alternative currencies worldwide.
Mudita Tiwari and Deepti KC presented their findings from the study titled, “Understanding the movement of cash of privately led enterprises in Dharavi and scope for electronic or mobile payments”. 
The study used ethnographic and experimental approaches to understand the movement of cash transactions, for three types (small, medium and large) of industries in Dharavi. Through the study, behaviors influencing business related financial transactions were observed, penetration of mainstream finance in the study area was mapped, and 200 stakeholders were interviewed to understand their knowledge and perception of electronic transactions. The study was conduc…