CFSP in the News

September 8, 2011
BusinessWeek Cites CFSP Suri's Research

Bloomberg Businessweek

Brendan Greeley and Eric Ombok recently highlighted research completed by CFSP member Tavneet Suri of MIT and co-author William Jack of Georgetown.  The article explores the growing use of M-PESA, the mobile banking system of Kenya, and how its advent is affecting savings among Kenyans.  The article also discusses how this growing usage influences the formal banking system and raises questions of whether or not to regulate these funds.

Photo by Alissa Everett courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek

Recent CFSP in the News

  • December 10, 2010


    Robert M. Townsend, CFSP Principal Investigator and Faculty Director, spoke with Steven Yeo of CEPR via Europe's VOX Talks, a series of audio interviews with leading economists around the world.  During the interview, Townsend highlighted a variety of interest areas generated from his extensive survey data research in Thailand, including risk sharing, networks, rate of saving, and return on assets in villages as small, open economies.  Please click through to hear the audio interview.

  • December 8, 2010
    New Data Shows M-PESA's Reach Is Spreading Down Market While Service and Customer Satisfaction Are at All Time Highs.

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Program Officer, Jake Kendall, in a recent blog post on, discussed the success of mobile money products in the hands of poor, unbanked Kenyans.  Having access to M-PESA has allowed Kenyans to effectively face negative income shocks, such as job loss and livestock death, while maintaining high customer satisfaction ratings. In his post, Kendall highlights the work of CFSP member Tavneet Suri of MIT whose collaborative research in Kenya provides valuable insight into the use of M-PESA.  CFSP is supported by a grant to the University of Chicago from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • November 11, 2010


    Diana Baide of focuses on the staggering growth rate of mobile banking in Kenya, known as M-PESA.  The reach of M-PESA is becoming increasingly widespread, reaching households, rural areas, and women as part of the clientele.  The impact of this booming shift in banking is the topic of research for Billy Jack of Georgetown University and CFSP member Tavneet Suri of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  “Mr. Jack and Ms. Suri concluded that the program has contributed to better household financial management and has the capacity to partially protect users from the negative consequences of job loss or business failure.”  

  • October 26, 2010

    Geoffrey Irungu explores the implications of the growing use of M-PESA in Kenya and features CFSP Tavneet Suri’s research in his article. 

  • October 21, 2010

    Chasing Fat Tails/NOOMPA Blog

    Blogger and Innovations in Poverty Action project associate Rohit Naimpally gives fly-on-the-wall coverage of a panel discussion featuring CFSP Member Chris Udry’s at the 2010 Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference. He dubbed it his “favorite panel of the day.”

  • October 21, 2010

    Philanthropy Action

    Tim Ogden, of Philanthropy Action, highlighted CFSP member Chris Udry and his compelling work on the use of microinsurance.  Ogden noted the various benefits of holding microinsurance, which can provide aid to the poor in developing countries during various shocks, but noted that microinsurance has often struggled to find eager buyers.  Studies like Udry's in Ghana suggest promising results for the poor buying into plans.  “The really exciting thing about Udry’s research is the significant benefits participants achieved,” writes Odgen.

  • May 3, 2010

    In his blog post, Rupert Baines of ECN magazine tells the story of a rising paradox in many developing countries across the globe.  Countries like Ghana, that exhibit many of the telltale signs of poverty, are also assuming an astonishingly rapid modern identity with the advent of mobile banking.  Baines, while on vacation in Ghana with his family, observed this phenomenon and took note of how it has impacted daily life for business owners.  A similar mobile banking system in Kenya, M-PESA, has been the focus of CFSP member Tavneet Suri’s research, which was highlighted in his post.  The presence of M-PESA has changed the way Kenyans do simple transactions, such as transfers.  "In these sorts of economies, there's not much of a bank presence, but money transfers are still important," notes Suri. "People do them all the time.”

  • February 23, 2010

    MIT news

    A cellphone-based cash transfer system has changed the way Kenyans handle their finances. But what does it mean for Kenya's economy — and the developing world? Peter Dizikes takes a closer look at CFSP member Tavneet Suri’s research in Kenya. (Image Christine Daniloff/MIT News)