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.
MUP Student at Wagner Wins Soros Fellowship for New Americans
Leda DeRosa, who is pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning (MUP) at NYU Wagner, has been selected as a recipient of a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She is one of 30 winners of the 2013 national competition, chosen from more than 1,050 applicants.
New Americans Fellows are selected on the basis of individual merit and promise - individuals who seem best-positioned to make a distinctive contribution to some aspect of American life. Clearly, Leda fits the bill.
Born in Korea, raised in Connecticut, Leda has a keen desire to work in underserved communities. This, she notes, arises from her complex immigrant and minority identities.
Leda graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, and was supported with scholarships and part-time jobs. She subsequently worked as a corporate legal assistant for a major New York-based international law firm and as Associate Director of an African-American think tank affiliated with Columbia Law School.
Each Fellow receives tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education in this country. The full slate of immigrant and academic stories can be found in all of its remarkable diversity here: 2013 Fellows' Bios.
New Report Explores Technology and the Nonprofit Sector
The Aspen Insitute today released a new report in Washington, D.C., by NYU Wagner Visiting Professor Beth Noveck and Daniel L. Goroff. The report, "Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data," shows how new technology designed to improve data on the nonprofit sector can prompt greater innovation and effectiveness.
Noveck is former director of the White House Open Government Initiative. Goroff, while at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, helped establish the new Interagency Task Force on Smart Disclosure. He is a program director with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
New Study Calculates Economic Benefits of Eliminating Bisphenol A (BPA) from all Food and Beverage Containers
A newly published article in Health Affairs by Professor Leonardo Trasande calculates the economic benefits of replacing bisphenol A (BPA) -- a chemical already banned from baby bottles and sippy cups by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration -- with a safer substitute in the production of all food and beverage containers.
Putting aside the social costs linked to the presence of BPA in both edible and non-food products, such as elevated obesity and coronary heart disease, the study finds that the economic savings of replacing the chemical with a less-risky substitute would be sizable. It adds that the savings from the move would outweigh the expense.
The article is entitled “Further Limiting Bisphenol A In Food Uses Could Provide Health And Economic Benefits” and appears in the journal's January issue.
Professor Trasande is an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine, and health policy at the NYU School of Medicine and holds faculty appointments at Wagner as well as the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.