J-PAL’s Finance sector measures the impact of financial services, products, and process innovations, and tries to understand how access to financial services can be used as a mechanism to reduce poverty and spur economic development.

Low-income households need effective financial tools to help manage and grow their money. Yet many of the financial services they can access are costly, unsafe, or not well-suited to their needs. To support financial inclusion efforts around the world, the Financial Inclusion Program at IPA partners with service providers, governments, and researchers to design and rigorously test financial services and programs encouraging healthy financial behavior among the poor. The Financial Inclusion Program manages several initiatives that fund research in the US and globally.

See IPA's Social Protection Program and Small and Medium Enterprise Program for research on those topics.


Government Mobile Salary Payments for Teachers in Afghanistan

Governments must pay their employees for states to function, but frequent delays and leakages of salary payments can undermine government effectiveness. In partnership with the Ministry of Education...


Comparing Cash and Voucher Transfers in a Humanitarian Context: Evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo

While cash transfers have become increasingly common in poverty alleviation programs worldwide, most humanitarian assistance still comes in the form of in-kind transfers, such as food, goods or...


A new study debunks one of the biggest arguments against basic income

Vox covers a randomized evaluation which found that providing food aid caused food prices to drop in many rural villages in Mexico.

People at MPESA stand in rural area


An Experiment Gives Cash Aid To The Poor. Is That Ethical?

NPR discusses the ethics of J-PAL affiliates' randomized evaluation of unconditional cash transfers in Kenya.


Early insights from the first field test of universal basic income

J-PAL Affiliate Paul Niehaus (University of California, Berkeley) weighs in on a pilot program in Kenya that is among the first field tests of universal basic income — the idea of providing everyone...