Original abstracts from the papers in the database are provided below. All abstracts are drawn directly from the papers referenced. Links to access the papers are provided, although
the papers may also be available from other web sources. By providing links to other sites, the United Nations Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation do not guarantee, approve, or endorse the information or products available on these sites.

  • Investing Cash Transfers to Raise Long-Term Living Standards

    Gertler, Martinez and Rubio-Codina (2012)

    Original abstract:

    The authors test whether poor households use cash transfers to invest in income generating activities that they otherwise would not have been able to do. Using data from a controlled randomized experiment, they find that transfers from the Oportunidades program to households in rural Mexico resulted in increased investment in micro-enterprise and agricultural activities. For each peso transferred, beneficiary households used 88 cents to purchase consumption goods and services, and invested the rest. The investments improved the household's ability to generate income with an estimated rate of return of 17.55 percent, suggesting that these households were both liquidity and credit constrained. By investing transfers to raise income, beneficiary households were able to increase their consumption by 34 percent after five and a half years in the program. The results suggest that cash transfers to the poor may raise long-term living standards, which are maintained after program benefits end.

    Intervention settings: Rural areas in 7 states: PROGRESA.

    Intervention description: Conditional cash transfers.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: HH from 506 communities.

    Findings: Per capita consumption was 5.6% higher in treatment households even 4 years after transfers to control households were initiated. (CCTs used in part to finance productive investments.)

    More Details
  • The miracle of microfinance? Evidence from a randomized evaluation

    Banerjee et al (2010)

    Intervention settings: Urban: Hyderabad slums

    Intervention description: MFI branches were opened in 52 randomly selected urban slums.

    Methodology: RCT


    Findings: Expenditure on durable goods and the number of new businesses increased significantly in treated areas. No effect on household expenditure per equivalent adult or women's decision-making role within the household after 15-18 months.

    More Details
  • Insurance, credit, and technology adoption: Field experimental evidence from Malawi

    Giné and Yang (2009)

    Original abstract:

    Does production risk suppress the demand for credit? We implemented a randomized field experiment to ask whether provision of insurance against a major source of production risk induces farmers to take out loans to adopt a new crop technology. The study sample was composed of roughly 800 maize and groundnut farmers in Malawi, where by far the dominant source of production risk is the level of rainfall. We randomly selected half of the farmers to be offered credit to purchase high-yielding hybrid maize and groundnut seeds for planting in the November 2006 crop season. The other half of farmers were offered a similar credit package, but were also required to purchase (at actuarially fair rates) a weather insurance policy that partially or fully forgave the loan in the event of poor rainfall. Surprisingly, take-up was lower by 13 percentage points among farmers offered insurance with the loan. Take-up was 33.0% for farmers who were offered the uninsured loan. There is suggestive evidence that reduced take-up of the insured loan was due to farmers already having implicit insurance from the limited liability clause in the loan contract: insured loan take-up was positively correlated with farmer education, income, and wealth, which may proxy for the individual's default costs. By contrast, take-up of the uninsured loan was uncorrelated with these farmer characteristics.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Central Malawi.

    Intervention description: Farmers offered either credit to purchase high-yielding hybrid seeds or credit plus a requirement to purchase rainfall insurance at an actuarially fair price.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Maize and groundnut farmers in 32 localities.

    Findings: Take up was 33% in the first group, and 13% lower in the second group.

    More Details
  • The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana

    Goldstein and Udry (2008)

    Original abstract:

    We examine the impact of ambiguous and contested land rights on investment and productivity in agriculture in Akwapim, Ghana. We show that individuals who hold powerful positions in a local political hierarchy have more secure tenure rights, and that as a consequence they invest more in land fertility and have substantially higher output. The intensity of investments on different plots cultivated by a given individual correspond to that individual's security of tenure over those specific plots and, in turn, to the individuals' position in the political hierarchy relevant to those specific plots.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Akwapim South District, Eastern Region.

    Intervention description: None.

    Methodology: Household-level fixed-effects estimation.

    Sample: 252 married couples; 519 plots in 4 village clusters owned by 240+ married couples; each couple was interviewed 15 times during a two-year period.

    Findings: Security of tenure has an important effect on land productivity (via investments in soil fertility) and security of tenure is related to an individual's position in the political and social hierarchy, with most women relatively disadvantaged. Insecure tenure leads to substantially lower profits per hectare for women compared to men.

    More Details
  • Crop Price Indemnified Loans for Farmers: A Pilot Experiment in Rural Ghana

    Karlan, Kutsoati, McMillan and Udry (2011)

    Original abstract:

    Farmers face a particular set of risks that complicate the decision to borrow. We use a randomized experiment to investigate (1) the role of crop-price risk in reducing demand for credit among farmers and (2) how risk mitigation changes farmers' investment decisions. In Ghana, we offer farmers loans with an indemnity component that forgives 50 percent of the loan if crop prices drop below a threshold price. A control group is offered a standard loan product at the same interest rate. Loan uptake is high among all farmers and the indemnity component has little impact on uptake or other outcomes of interest.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Eastern.

    Intervention description: Farmers offered loans with or without crop price insurance and financial literacy training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Farmers (15% female).

    Findings: Take up rates were high (92% of farmers offered loans and crop price insurance, 86% of farmers offered loans only). Gender did not have a significant effect on take up.

    More Details