Financial Access Initiative

Banking the World: Empirical Foundations of Financial Inclusion - Jonathan Morduch

Banking the World: Empirical Foundations of Financial Inclusion - Jonathan Morduch

Jonathan Morduch, professor of public policy and economics at NYU Wagner, has co-edited a new collection about the world’s vast “unbanked” population. The book,  Banking the World: Empirical Foundations of Financial Inclusion, examines how to realize the goal of extending banking and other financial services to the estimated 2.5 billion people, just over half the adult population globally, who lack them. It. is published by The MIT Press and can be ordered here.

Morduch, a contributor to the volume, is the executive director and co-founder of the Financial Access Initiative, an inter-university research center housed at the Wagner school. The full gamut of essays explore such topics as the complexity of surveying people about their use of financial services; evidence of the impact of financial services on income; and the occasional negative effects of financial services on poor households, including disincentives to work and over-indebtedness. Along with Murdoch, the book's co-editors include Robert Cull and Asli Demirglic-Kunt.

About the Editors:

Robert Cull is a Lead Economist in the Finance and Delivery Private Sector Development Team of the World Bank’s Development Research Group. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is Director of Development Policy in the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency and Chief Economist of the Financial and Private Sector Development Network (FPD).

Asli Demirguc-Kunt is Senior Research Manager, Finance and Private Sector, in the World Bank's Development Economics Research Group. She is the coeditor of Financial Structures and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Comparison of Banks, Markets, and Development (MIT Press, 2001).

Jonathan J. Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is the coauthor of The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press) and Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day.

Bill Gates' Letter to the World

Bill Gates' Letter to the World

     In January, 2009, Bill Gates shared his first "Annual Letter" relating his expanded role at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and priorities for the Foundation during the year ahead. In the letter, Gates discusses: why he remains optimistic in the face of the current economic crisis, and the Foundation's work in their focus areas of global development, global health and U.S. programs. Gates specifically details the progress that has been made in the field of global health, and the importance of moving that work forward, with special focus on HIV/AIDS, polio, malaria, and childhood health; the critical need for agricultural improvements in Africa; the state of U.S. education, and the Foundation's new strategic approach; and the role of foundations, and the importance of partnerships between the sectors.

     The Gates Foundation's focus on global development resonates strongly at NYU Wagner, where one-third of students are pursuing an International specialization with their MPA. Wagner is also home to the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), a research consortium launched with support from the Gates Foundation in 2006. FAI is a consortium of leading development economists focused on substantially expanding access to quality financial services for low-income individuals. FAI is led by Managing Director Jonathan Morduch (NYU Wagner), Director Dean Karlan (Yale), and Director Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard).

     To receive Bill Gates' annual letter, please visit the "Annual Letter Sign Up" link below.  

Does Financial Literacy Alone Lead to Good Financial Decisions?

Does Financial Literacy Alone Lead to Good Financial Decisions?

NYU Wagner Professor Jonathan Morduch and Public Service Fellow Barbara Kiviat have written a fascinating paper on financial literacy for the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, entitled "From Financial Literacy to Financial Action."

The paper examines how financial know-how, seen as a tool important to the success of micro-lending strategies in developing countries, can be utilized to help people "turn financial aspirations into meaningful actions" and "develop and stick to concrete financial plans."

Morduch is a professor of public policy and economics at NYU Wagner and the managing director of the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), where Kiviat offers a blog post about  the full white paper. She is a David Bohnett Public Service Fellow at Wagner and a research associate at the Financial Access Initiative.

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