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OXI 200 - Microfinance and Experimental Methods

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Course Description

As microfinance continues to grow, we can benefit from the insight gained for several international programmes that have now been delivered over many years.

This 5-day course gives participants an evidenced-based approach to understanding what works best on the ground and what evaluation methods give a true picture of results achieved. 

Why do we now question the success of early microcredit projects? Is it more effective to give credit, cash or assets? How does the timing of payments and support effect results? What innovative alternative models exist? Is there a need for microsavings and microinsurance?

This program is organized in cooperation with Oxford Intellect. Oxford Intellect supports higher education institutions to benefit from cutting-edge knowledge developed by leading experts in the United Kingdom. Their team is drawn from the leading universities in the United Kingdom including the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and University College London. They benefit from a wide network of professors, lecturers and researchers who are leading figures in their field. 

 

Course Objectives

  • An evidenced-based view of microfinance: what actually works?
  • How and why evaluation methods differ
  • How to structure an effective project
  • Introduction to microsavings and microinsurance
  • Understanding the potential of microequity
  • Islamically-acceptable financial contract structures

Who Should Attend?

  • Policy makers working in the fields of economic development and aid
  • NGOs and charities
  • Academics researching and teaching in fields connected with microfinance

Course Details/Schedule

Day 1

Microcredit
  • An evidenced-based view of microfinance: what actually works?
  • How and why evaluation methods differ
  • How to structure an effective project
  • Introduction to microsavings and microinsurance
  • Understanding the potential of microequity
  • Islamically-acceptable financial contract structures

Day 2

Methods
  • The problem of causal inference, selection bias
  • How randomisation can solve the selection bias problem 
  • Other methods for trying to solve the selection bias problem

Day 3

Cash or capital grants?
  • Recent cash / capital grant studies with microenterprises: positive results
  • Asset transfer programs with poor households: positive results
  • Link to session 1 and session 4: the paradox of negative results from microcredit but positive results from cash / capital / asset transfers?

Day 4

Microcredit contractual innovations, microsavings and microinsurance
  • Deviating from rigid microcredit structure: payment frequency
  • Deviating from rigid microcredit structure: grace periods
  • Flexibility and adverse selection 
  • Recent literature on microsavings and its link to behavioural economics
  • Recent literature on microinsurance: positive effects, but extremely low take-up; why?
  • Microinsurance and basis risk

Day 5

Microequity and Islamic Finance
  • Pulling together insights from microcredit, microsavings, microinsurance
  • The potential for ‘microequity’ contracts
  • Implementation issues with microequity (costly state verification, adverse selection, moral hazard)
  • Microfinance and Islamically-acceptable financial contract structures