Friday’s Public Affairs Discussion Group to cover developing economies

PrinaSilvia Prina, associate professor of economics, will lead the next Public Affairs Discussion Group titled, “Encouraging Savings by the Poor in Developing Countries.”

The discussion will take place Friday, Oct. 3, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Mather House, Room 100.

Since the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2006, many people who are not development economists have known that the provision of banking and credit services for poor people in the developing world could be important.

But the story of Grameen’s microcredit is just one side of the story—the borrowing, but not the saving. In the uncertainty of poverty in poor countries, saving is not easy. Your “account” could be a goat, and the goat could die, or be stolen. So part of the challenge of development is how to enable people to save.

It’s not easy because banking systems in poor countries tend to be poorly developed, inconvenient, not necessarily reliable and also unfamiliar. So what must be done to make saving more possible for their populations, and what would be the effects of helping people save?

Prina recently conducted a field experiment in Nepal to investigate those questions. Join the group to learn about path-breaking research and discuss the broader challenges of economic development.

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

For updates and more information about the Friday lunch schedule, visit