CGD Policy Blogs
The biggest development in development economics lately is the surge in the use of randomized trials. As in careful drug trials, randomly giving some people a "treatment," such as an offer of microcredit, and comparing how they do to people not offered can be a powerful research tool.
Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo has a new book coming out called Dead Aid.
Aside from the "bookend" chapters (now there's an odd metaphor), this book is really a series of perspectives on microfinance: the historian's perspective, the microfinance manager's perspective, the economist's perspective, and so on. The first perspective, in chapter 2 (.doc .pdf), is that of poor clients.
As I conceive it, Chapter 1 (.doc .pdf) motivates, introduces, and summarizes the book. Not surprisingly, I drafted this chapter first--back in June, in order to present the book ideas to my CGD colleagues. Since then I have written and learned much more. Once the rest of the book is drafted, I will return to this chapter and make it do a better job of distilling and communicating the conclusions.
I am using this blog to share the process of writing my book about microfinance (the mass production of small-scale financial services for the poor). The book asks and attempts to answer bottom-line questions about what we know about the impacts of microfinance and what that implies for how governments, foundations, and investors should support it.