Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs


To fee or not to fee?

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.

Chapter 2 main post: How the Other Half Finances

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.

Chapter 1 main post: Introduction and overview

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.

Summary and outline

Here are a short pitch and a working outline for my book. I will hotlink this entry to chapter drafts as I post them. You can also find drafts via the "Contents" list on the right margin of the blog home page.

Help me write this book

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.