Philanthropy Action

News & Commentary



Oct 29, 2010

Eyes and Mouths Wide Shut?

A planned public discussion of how to evaluate the Millennium Villages Project was canceled this week for unknown reasons. Join a petition to encourage the Center for Global Development, the World Bank and the Millennium Villages Project to reschedule the discussion and make it accessible to all.

Oct 29, 2010

Targeting the Ultrapoor

Encouraging results from two programs replicating BRAC’s pioneering program targeting the ultrapoor.

Oct 26, 2010

Can it Help the Poor if it Hurts the Banks?

Could the rigidity of the typical micro-credit product be partially responsible for the fact that access to credit has limited, if any, income effects for micro-entrepreneurs?

Oct 25, 2010

What Don’t We Know about Microfinance

The first session of Day 2 took a step back to discuss what we don’t know, but should. Panel participants were Chris Dunford from Freedom from Hunger, who spoke about the limits of RCTs; Rich Rosenberg from CGAP discussed overindebtedness; and Abhijit Banerjee from JPAL offered insights into why micro-enterprises never seem to grow.

Oct 25, 2010

No WiFi = No Live Blogging, But More Microfinance Still to Come

Oct 22, 2010

My Favorite Study of the Day: Why Aren’t We Targeting Men?

Two years ago David McKenzie presented results of his work in Sri Lanka on the returns on capital for male and female entrepreneurs. He found that women had zero or negative returns on capital, while men, on average, generated fairly high returns. Since then he’s run a similar study in Ghana. I’ll be writing about this study in more detail later, including an interview with David, but for now I wanted to pass along the content of David’s last slide which covers his conclusions from the studies he’s done on this issue:

Oct 21, 2010

Microinsurance: It Works but Nobody Wants It

In summary, the various studies showed that there is tremendous potential for microinsurance—it has large benefits if the barriers to adoption are overcome. It seems that the most important area for innovation is around the cost of delivery and administration. If insurance providers can bring down those costs, they will find demand and will be able to grow a sustainable business that provides substantial benefits to clients.

Oct 21, 2010

Microfinance Impact and Innovation: Microfinance Impacts

In the second session of the morning, Dean Karlan from IPA and Yale, and Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo from JPAL presented findings from the latest round of microfinance impact studies.

Oct 21, 2010

Microfinance Impact and Innovation: Opening Session

The morning began with some introductory remarks from Jonathan Morduch, director of the Financial Access Initiative, followed by a presentation from Moody’s Jody Rasch on the investment rating company’s efforts to create a social performance rating methodology for microfinance institutions.

Oct 08, 2010

Starring Cause Marketing Campaigns

This year I’ve decided to do something a bit more than just point out the questions, flaws and issues with cause marketing. I’m going to attempt to start a crowdsourced certification of cause marketing programs based on conformance with minimum standards of disclosure. Essentially, I’m asking you to 1) help me form a set of minimum, easy to judge standards for programs that are more than just gimmicks, and 2) start pointing out and rating cause marketing programs that meet those standards.