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Financial inclusion interventions have very small and inconsistent impacts
  • Authors Maren Duvendack, Philip Mader
  • Published date 2019-01-07
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development, Methods
  • Type of document Review
  • PLS Title Financial inclusion interventions have very small and inconsistent impacts
  • PLS Description Financial inclusion programmes seek to increase access to financial services such as credit, savings, insurance and money transfers and so allow poor and low-income households in low- and middle-income countries to enhance their welfare, grasp opportunities, mitigate shocks, and ultimately escape poverty. This systematic review of reviews assesses the evidence on economic, social, behavioural and gender-related outcomes from financial inclusion.
  • Title Financial inclusion interventions have very small and inconsistent impacts
  • Library Image Library Image
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    A wide range of financial inclusion programmes seek to increase poor people’s access to financial services to enhance the welfare of poor and low-income households in low- and middle-income countries. The impacts of financial inclusion interventions are small and variable. Although some services have some positive effects for some people, overall financial inclusion may be no better than comparable alternatives, such as graduation or livelihoods interventions.

    What is this review about?

    Financial inclusion programmes seek to increase access to financial services such as credit, savings, insurance and money transfers and so allow poor and low-income households in low- and middle-income countries to enhance their welfare, grasp opportunities, mitigate shocks, and ultimately escape poverty.  This systematic review of reviews assesses the evidence on economic, social, behavioural and gender-related outcomes from financial inclusion.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This systematic review of reviews systematically collects and appraises all of the existing meta-studies – that is systematic reviews and meta-analyses – of the impact of financial inclusion. The authors first analyse the strength of the methods used in those meta-studies, then synthesise the findings from those that are of a sufficient quality, and finally, report the implications for policy, programming, practice and further research arising from the evidence. Eleven studies are included in the analysis.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    What studies are included?

    This review includes studies that synthesise the findings of other studies (meta-studies) regarding the impacts of a range of financial inclusion interventions on economic, social, gender and behavioural outcomes. A total of 32 such meta-studies were identified, of which 11 were of sufficient methodological quality to be included in the final analysis. The review examined meta-studies from 2010 onwards that spanned the globe in terms of geographical coverage.

    Impacts are more likely to be positive than negative, but the effects vary, are often mixed, and appear not to be transformative in scope or scale, as they largely occur in the early stages of the causal chain of effects. Overall, the effects of financial services on core economic poverty indicators such as incomes, assets or spending, and on health status and other social outcomes, are small and inconsistent. Moreover, there is no evidence for meaningful behaviour-change outcomes leading to further positive effects.

    The effects of financial services on women’s empowerment appear to be generally positive, but they depend upon programme features which are often only peripheral or unrelated to the financial service itself (such as education about rights), cultural and geographical context, and what aspects of empowerment are considered.

    Accessing savings opportunities appears to have small but much more consistently positive effects for poor people, and bears fewer downside risks for clients than credit. A large number of the meta-studies included in the final analysis voiced concerns about the low quality of the primary evidence base that formed the basis of their syntheses. This raises concerns about the reliability of the overall findings of meta-studies.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    This systematic review of reviews draws on the largest-ever evidence base on financial inclusion impacts.  The weak effects found warn against unrealistic hype for financial inclusion, as previously happened for microcredit. There are substantial evidence gaps, notably studies of sufficient duration to measure higher-level impacts which take time to materialize, and for specific outcomes such as debt levels or indebtedness patterns and the link to macroeconomic development.

    This study is the first review of reviews published by the Campbell Collaboration. Some important limitations were encountered working at this level of systematisation.  It is recommended that authors of primary studies and meta-studies engage more critically with study quality and ensure better, more detailed reporting of their concepts, data and methods. More methods guidance and clearer reporting standards for the social science and international development context would be helpful.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies in November 2017, updating elements of the searches in January 2018. This Campbell Systematic Review was published in January 2019.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2019.2
Factors associated with youth gang membership in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Angela Higginson, Kathryn Benier, Yulia Shenderovich, Laura Bedford, Lorraine Mazerolle, Joseph Murray
  • Published date 2018-11-29
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice, International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • Category Image Category Image
  • PLS Title Evidence shows which factors predict gang membership in low- and middle-income countries, but more studies needed
  • PLS Description Youth gang membership is associated with delinquency, violent crime and trafficking – and gang members are themselves frequently the victims of these offences. Yet youth gangs can also provide a form of social capital, a sense of belonging and purpose to disenfranchised youth. This review identifies the factors associated with young people joining gangs, and the differences between gang-involved and non-gang-involved youth. Understanding these associations is essential to reduce the levels of gang membership and the incidence of related violence.
  • Title Factors associated with youth gang membership in low- and middle-income countries
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.11
Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries
  • Authors David J. Hemming, Ephraim W. Chirwa, Andrew Dorward, Holly J. Ruffhead, Rachel Hill, Janice Osborn, Laurenz Langer, Luke Harman, Hiro Asaoka, Chris Coffey, Daniel Phillips
  • Published date 2018-05-28
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • Category Image Category Image
  • PLS Title Agricultural input subsidies raise input use, yields and farm income
  • PLS Description Greater use of improved seeds and inorganic fertilisers, and increased mechanisation, could boost agricultural productivity in some low- or lower-middle-income countries, but there is disagreement about whether subsidising these inputs is an effective way to stimulate their use. This review examines the evidence for impacts of input subsidies on agricultural productivity, beneficiary incomes and welfare, consumer welfare and wider economic growth.
  • Title Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.4
The effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches in emergencies
  • Authors Shannon Doocy, Hannah Tappis
  • Published date 2017-12-21
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • PLS Title Cash-based humanitarian assistance approaches can increase food security and are more cost effective than in-kind food transfers
  • PLS Description This review assesses the effects of cash-based approaches on individual and household outcomes in humanitarian emergencies. It also assesses the efficiency of different cash-based approaches and identifies factors that hinder and facilitate programme implementation.
  • Title The effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches in emergencies
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.17
Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Marjorie Chinen, Thomas de Hoop, Lorena Alcázar, María Balarin, Josh Sennett
  • Published date 2017-12-21
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • PLS Title Vocational and business training benefit women on the labour market, but the effects of most programmes are small
  • PLS Description Women around the world often perform jobs with minimal skill requirements, and encounter few opportunities for learning and advancement. Governments and development agencies try to improve women’s skills through vocational and business training programmes. This review summarises evidence on the impacts of such programmes, and on the barriers to and facilitators of vocational and business training effectiveness.
  • Title Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.16
The effectiveness of contract farming for raising income of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Giel Ton, Sam Desiere, Wytse Vellema, Sophia Weituschat, Marijke D'Haese
  • Published date 2017-12-12
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Category Image Category Image
  • PLS Title Contract farming improves incomes for better-off farmers
  • PLS Description Contract farming is a sales arrangement agreed before production begins, which provides the farmer with resources or services. The service package provided by the firm varies per location, and can include transport, certification, input provisioning and credit. This systematic review summarises evidence on income effects for smallholders to assess average effects and explore combinations of factors that increase these effects.
  • Title The effectiveness of contract farming for raising income of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.13
Interventions to improve the labour market outcomes of youth: a systematic review of training, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment interventions
  • Authors Jochen Kluve, Susana Puerto, David Robalino, Jose Manuel Romero, Friederike Rother, Jonathan Stöterau, Felix Weidenkaff, Marc Witte
  • Published date 2017-12-04
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, International Development, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • PLS Title Active labour market programmes for youth increase employment and earnings. Effects vary between programmes and context.
  • PLS Description This systematic review assesses the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people. The included interventions are training and skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment. Outcomes of interest include employment, earnings and business performance outcomes.
  • Title Interventions to improve the labour market outcomes of youth: a systematic review of training, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment interventions
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.12
Approaches to promote handwashing and sanitation behaviour change in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Emmy De Buck, Hans Van Remoortel, Karin Hannes, Thashlin Govender, Selvan Naidoo, Bert Avau, Axel Vande veegaete, Alfred Musekiwa, Vittoria Lutje, Margaret Cargo, Hans-Joachim Mosler, Philippe Vandekerckhove, Taryn Young
  • Published date 2017-05-19
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • Category Image Category Image
  • PLS Title Community-based approaches are most effective in promoting changes in hygiene practices, but sustainability is a challenge
  • PLS Description Diarrhoeal diseases are very common causes of death in low and middle-income countries. Improved sanitation and hygiene reduce diarrhoea, but adoption remains a challenge.This review assesses the evidence for two questions: (1) how effective are different approaches to promote handwashing and sanitation behaviour change; and (2) what factors influence the implementation of these approaches?
  • Title Approaches to promote handwashing and sanitation behaviour change in low- and middle-income countries
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.7
Effects of certification schemes for agricultural production on socio-economic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Carlos Oya, Florian Schaefer, Dafni Skalidou, Catherine McCosker, Laurenz Langer
  • Published date 2017-03-01
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • PLS Title Certification schemes do not seem to improve household incomes for farmers and wages for workers
  • PLS Description This review assesses whether certification schemes work for the wellbeing of agricultural producers and workers in low- and middle- income countries.
  • Title Effects of certification schemes for agricultural production on socio-economic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.3
The effects of school-based decision-making on educational outcomes in low- and middle-income contexts
  • Authors Roy Carr-Hill, Caine Rolleston, Rebecca Schendel
  • Published date 2016-12-07
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Title Protocol Review Plain language summary
  • Category Image Category Image
  • PLS Title School-based decision-making has positive effects on education outcomes but less so in low-income countries
  • PLS Description Decentralizing decision-making to schools has mainly small to moderate positive effects in reducing repetition, dropouts and increasing test scores. These effects are restricted to middle-income countries, with fewer and smaller positive effects found in low-income countries or in disadvantaged communities.
  • Title The effects of school-based decision-making on educational outcomes in low- and middle-income contexts
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2016.9
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