Missing: Hard Data and Analysis on Microcredit
Microfinance's global acclaim has been fueled, in part, by anecdotes about cash-strapped micro-entrepreneurs propelled out of poverty by bits of extra cash in the form of microloans. But research by NYU Wagner's Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jonathan Morduch shows that little actually is known about the magnitude of very poor people who benefit from microloans -- or to what degree. The evidence that does exist, meanwhile, is flawed.
Professor Morduch is a leading microfinance expert, the co-author of the 2005 book "The Economics of Microfinance" (MIT Press), and lead researcher of the NYU Wagner-based Financial Access Initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On January 21, 2008, he delivered a Distinguished Lecture hosted by the Center for Analytical Finance of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Entitled "Microfinance: The Next Capitalist Revolution?", the presentation focused on expanding concepts of microfinance to meet the needs of the next generation of unbanked customers. The lecture focused on consumer finance, livelihoods strategies, and the roles of the private and poverty sector.
While in India, Professor Morduch also delivered presentations at the Reserve Bank of India, the Delhi School of Economics, and the National Council on Applied Economic Research.
Professor Morduch also visited Japan in December, 2007, where he gave the keynote speech at a symposium on microfinance attended by academics, policymakers, and bankers, held at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. He delivered talks at Kobe University, the University of Tokyo, and the Ministry of Finance.
Friday, February 1, 2008, Professor Morduch discusses his groundbreaking new paper, "How Can the Poor Afford Microfinance," at the First Annual Forum on Financial Access, hosted at New York University by the Financial Access Initiative. The conference, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., includes a student debate competition moderated by a senior writer and editor from The Economist and discussions by leading experts on microfinance and poverty. For further information, click below.
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MPA Student Wins GovLoop/NASPAA Scholarship
Congratulations are most definitely in order for Brian Footer, who is pursuing his MPA at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service: The online network GovLoop and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) have awarded him third place for his essay, "Local Government Grant Program, " which suggests a new grant program that would make funds available to help communities that miss out on much-needed assistance in these fiscally pinched times.
"I believe government's inherent social value is establishing services essential to provide basic human needs," wrote Footer, whose essay was among the top three winners chosen after a review, by a panel of judges, of more than 1,700 entries submitted by graduate students around the country.
"This, however," he went on, "is not a mandate for government to deliver services. Rather, government should be a coordinator of parties and resources, and no one understands the unique demands of each geographic community better than local government."
Brian's honor includes a $1,000 scholarship.
The GovLoop/NASPAA announcement is here.