About the authorDean Karlan is Professor of Economics and Finance at Northwestern University and President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). Dean started IPA in 2002 with two aims: to help learn what works and what does not in the fight against poverty and other social problems around the world, and then to implement successful ideas at scale. IPA has worked in over 50 countries, with 1,000 employees around the world. Dean’s personal research focuses on using field experiments to learn more about the effectiveness of financial services for low-income households, with a focus on using behavioral economics approaches to improve financial products and services. His research includes related areas, such as building income for those in extreme poverty, charitable fund-raising, voting, health, and education. Dean is also co founder of stickK.com, a start-up that helps people use commitment contracts to achieve personal goals, such as losing weight or completing a problem set on time, and in 2015 he founded Impact Matters, an organization that helps assess whether charitable organizations are using and producing appropriate evidence of impact. Dean is a Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and an Executive Committee member of the Board of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab. In 2007 he was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He is co editor of the Journal of Development Economics and on the editorial board of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. He holds a BA from University of Virginia, an MPP and MBA from University of Chicago, and a PhD in Economics from MIT. In 2016 he coauthored Failing in the Field, and in 2011 he coauthored More Than Good Intentions:Improving the Ways the World’s Poor Borrow, Save, Farm, Learn, and Stay Healthy.
Jonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Jonathan focuses on innovations that expand the frontiers of finance and how financial markets shape economic growth and inequality. Jonathan has lived and worked in Asia, but his newest book, The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty (written with Rachel Schneider and published by Princeton University Press, 2017), follows families in California, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, and New York as they cope with economic ups and downs over a year. The new work jumps off from ideas in Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton University Press, 2009), which Jonathan coauthored and which describes how families in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa devise ways to make it through a year living on $2 a day or less. Jonathan’s research on financial markets is collected in The Economics of Micro-finance and Banking the World, both published by MIT Press. At NYU, Jonathan is executive director of the Financial Access Initiative, a center that supports research on extending access to finance in low-income communities. Jonathan’s ideas have also shaped policy through work with the United Nations, World Bank, and other international organizations. In 2009, the Free University of Brussels awarded Jonathan an honorary doctorate to recognize his work on micro-finance. He holds a BA from Brown and a PhD from Harvard, both in Economics.