Portfolios of the Poor

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-11-29
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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Nearly forty percent of humanity lives on an average of two dollars a day or less. If you've never had to survive on an income so small, it is hard to imagine. How would you put food on the table, afford a home, and educate your children? How would you handle emergencies and old age? Every day, more than a billion people around the world must answer these questions. Portfolios of the Poor is the first book to systematically explain how the poor find solutions to their everyday financial problems.

The authors conducted year-long interviews with impoverished villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa--records that track penny by penny how specific households manage their money. The stories of these families are often surprising and inspiring. Most poor households do not live hand to mouth, spending what they earn in a desperate bid to keep afloat. Instead, they employ financial tools, many linked to informal networks and family ties. They push money into savings for reserves, squeeze money out of creditors whenever possible, run sophisticated savings clubs, and use microfinancing wherever available. Their experiences reveal new methods to fight poverty and ways to envision the next generation of banks for the "bottom billion."

Indispensable for those in development studies, economics, and microfinance, Portfolios of the Poor will appeal to anyone interested in knowing more about poverty and what can be done about it.

Author Biography

Daryl Collins is senior associate at Bankable Frontier Associates in Boston. Jonathan Morduch is professor of public policy and economics at New York University and coauthor of "The Economics of Microfinance". Stuart Rutherford is the founder of SafeSave, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh. Orlanda Ruthven recently completed a doctoral degree in international development at the University of Oxford, and currently lives in Delhi.

Table of Contents

List of Tablesp. vii
List of Figuresp. ix
The Portfolios of the Poorp. 1
The Daily Grindp. 28
Dealing with Riskp. 65
Building Blocks: Creating Usefully Large Sumsp. 95
The Price of Moneyp. 132
Rethinking Microfinance: The Grameen II Diariesp. 154
Better Portfoliosp. 174
The Story behind the Portfoliosp. 185
A Selection of Portfoliosp. 211
Acknowledgmentsp. 243
Notesp. 247
Bibliographyp. 265
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

groundbreaking work July 1, 2011
This is the first textbook I've read in a long, long time that has fundamentally changed my thinking on questions of international development. This textbook not only describes how people react to those challenges, but also how they prepare for them beforehand with multilayered portfolios of equity and debt.
The authors' use of financial diaries prepared by struggling families in Asia and Africa proves that millions of individuals are prepared for the risks and rewards of financial services if they were only tailored to their needs.
This is a groundbreaking work, and the methodology used can easily be replicated to further the work in this important subject.
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Portfolios of the Poor: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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