Financial Access Initiative

"Portfolios of the Poor," co-authored by Prof. Jonathan Morduch, Helped Inspire a New App to Address Income Volatility: NY Times Magazine

"Portfolios of the Poor," co-authored by Prof. Jonathan Morduch, Helped Inspire a New App to Address Income Volatility: NY Times Magazine

“Want A Steady Income? There’s an App for That,” a piece published Sunday, May 3, in The New York Times Magazine, focuses on a Silicon Valley app-in-development partly inspired by Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day, the groundbreaking book (Princeton University Press, 2009) written by NYU Wagner Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jonathan Morduch, NYU Wagner PhD Daryl Collins, and two others. The anticipated app is designed to help households manage what has been called America's “hidden inequality” – the profound stresses and disruptions income volatility can cause.

Professor Morduch’s research centers on microfinance, social investment, and the economics of poverty. He is the Executive Director and Founder of the Financial Access Initiative (FAI). His current “U.S. Financial Diaries” project examines how income volatility affects low- and moderate-income U.S. families.

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.  

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