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access to finance

Access to finance at the Annual Meetings

Ryan Hahn's picture

Amidst the flurry of activity at the joint World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, one initiative was announced that probably won't grab as much attention as the IMF's most recent World Economic Outlook or Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's agile dodging of a flying shoe.

Which gives more bang for the buck, deworming or OLPC?

Ryan Hahn's picture

A recent article by Timothy Ogden (Computer Error?) provides a pretty clear answer: forget the glitzy computers, and put your scarce resources into the provision of deworming pills. The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program provides computers at around $200 a pop, while deworming pills cost between 50 cents and 4 dollars per student per year. All the control trials of computers in classrooms have given—at best—ambiguous results.

Access to credit and employment protection legislation

Might access to credit have anything to do with support for employment protection legislation (EPL)? Felipe Balmaceda and Ronald Fischer propose a connection. Workers in firms with easy access to credit EPL. Workers in firms with shaky access to credit oppose EPL.

Presidential medals and credit bureaus

Ryan Hahn's picture

Microfinance received a nice fillip recently when Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama. While Yunus's rockstar status has helped put the access to finance agenda center stage, I wonder if it might obscure some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps the phrase "credit bureaus" may not cause your heart to race, but in some countries this is really where the action is at.

The indictment is in, but what about that verdict?

Ryan Hahn's picture

Last month I wrote about the underwhelming results of a randomized control trial of microcredit in India. The long and short of it: access to credit helped increase business investment, but didn't have any noticeable effect on the things we really care about, like health and education. While it would perhaps be unfair to say that the study was a final verdict on microfinance, it was clearly a serious indictment.