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Indebtedness

Can mainstream media help improve financial decisions?

Gunhild Berg's picture



Financial education is important, yet there is a considerable knowledge gap in determining how best to deliver it. Recently, the literature on careful evaluations of financial education has started to move away from classroom based interventions to more innovative delivery mechanisms such as videos, DVDs, and mainstream media. The advantage of entertainment media – television and radio – is that it offers a broad outreach since nearly every household nowadays has a TV and also a captive audience that establishes emotional connections with the show and closely follows the behavior of their favorite actors. Given that entertainment media has been shown to be successful at improving social behavior in the health and education fields, an interesting research question is whether it can also be used for positively influencing financial knowledge and behavior.

Microcredit deserves support to benefit the poor

Shahid Khandker's picture

Microcredit has been in the spotlight lately. This innovative banking program, pioneered by Professor Muhammad Yunus, has created the option for millions of poor people, especially women, to become self-employed entrepreneurs.  By empowering women, microcredit has created opportunities to lift countless families out of abject poverty.  Clearly, this has been a net gain for society.  Yet current criticism of microcredit points to its failure to alleviate poverty, high indebtedness of borrowers, high interest rates, coercive loan-collection tactics, lack of transparency in public fund management, and uncertainty of succession in leadership.