Savings Groups at the Frontier
Candace Nelson, editor, with contributions by Jeff Ashe, Candace Nelson, Joanna Ledgerwood, Alyssa Jethani, Susan Johnson, Silvia Storchi, Paul Rippey, Hugh Allen, Kim Wilson, Megan Gash, and David Panetta
 
Savings Groups at the Frontier explores the issues that will shape the future of Savings Groups. What are the costs, required inputs, and anticipated outreach of these groups? How does replication take place? How sustainable are the groups? Is it feasible to integrate financial and non-financial services? Are linkages to the formal system desirable? What is the impact of groups on members and their households? How can performance be managed? Not surprisingly, these issues mirror the preoccupation of the pioneers of microcredit. However, this book addresses them, not from the perspective of the financial institution, but in support of group members and savers who are managing their own financial services.
The discussions in this book carry on those begun at the Arusha Savings Group Summit held in Tanzania in October, 2011. The authors of these chapters, including Jeff Ashe, Hugh Allen, Joanna Ledgerwood, and Paul Rippey, received input from a wide range of practitioners on-line on a special page of Savings Revolution
 

 

Financial Promise for the Poor

Kim Wilson and Malcolm Harper, eds.

Financial Promise for the Poor covers current innovations in microsavings happening around the world. It describes how savings group members in the developing world are avoiding many of the financial liabilities and debt of other microfinance programs while gaining skills and finding opportunities in collective enterprise. The turn from credit to savings speaks to the growing empowerment of individuals and communities as they break the bonds of indebtedness and find their own paths to financial security. 

 

 

 

 

Portfolios of the Poor

Daryl Collins, Jonathan Murdoch, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven

Portfolios of the Poor tackles the fundamental question of how the poor make ends meet. Over 250 families in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa participated in this unprecedented study of the financial practices of the world’s poor. This book shows that many poor people have surprisingly sophisticated financial lives, saving and borrowing with an eye to the future and creating complex “financial portfolios” of formal and informal tools.

 

 

 

 

Join the Club

Tina Rosenburg

The ability of peer groups to affect behavioral change takes on positive connotations when applied to social activism in what the author calls “the social cure.” Rosenburg explores join-the-club strategies for progressive causes: South Africa’s AIDS-awareness group, loveLife; Serbia’s student-led anti-Milosevic democracy movement, Otpor; India’s rural health-worker program in Jamkhed; a Christian faith-building community in suburban Chicago; and a teen-driven antismoking campaign in Florida. 

 

 

 

 

More than Good Intentions

Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel

In this pioneering book Karlan and Appel combine behavioral economics with worldwide field research that take readers with them into villages across Africa, India, South America, and the Philippines, where economic theory collides with real life. They show how small changes in banking, insurance, health care, and other development initiatives that take into account human irrationality can drastically improve the well-being of poor people everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s wrong with Microfinance?

Thomas Ditcher and Malcom Harper, eds.

Microfinance reaches millions of poor people, particularly women, and it can be profitable both for some of its customers and also for the institutions which finance it. There are, however, some important problems. Some arise from exaggerated expectations, some from bad design and mismanagement and some from erroneous basic policies. Is microfinance really a step on the road to economic growth, or is it a short-term palliative, keeping poor people poor? Can an MFI really work if it embraces the “double bottom line” of both profit and social good? Is microfinance, especially credit, harmful, often landing the vulnerable poor in debt?  The authors sound a timely warning to governments, bankers, donors and the general public. The intention is not to bring microfinance to a stop, but to make people pause, reassess their expectations and re-think some policies. 

 

 

 

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Through their work, Banerjee and Duflo look at some of the most surprising facets of poverty: why the poor need to borrow in order to save, why they miss out on free life-saving immunizations but pay for drugs that they do not need, why they start many businesses but do not grow any of them, and many other puzzling facts about living with less than 99 cents per day.  Poor Economics argues that so much of anti-poverty policy has failed over the years because of an inadequate understanding of poverty. The battle against poverty can be won, but it will take patience, careful thinking and a willingness to learn from evidence. Banerjee and Duflo are practical visionaries whose meticulous workoffers transformative potential for poor people anywhere, and is a vital guide to policy makers, philanthropists, activists and anyone else who cares about building a world without poverty.