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Financial Access Initiative - Research Assistant

TERMS OF REFERENCE: Research Assistant, Regulatory Policy


; and Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics,



and led by Christina Barrineau as the Managing Director. Key research include the nature of demand for financial services; the extent of impacts of financial access on incomes, businesses, and broader aspects of well being; and regulatory and policy issues.


Regulators of financial services have not had the benefit of learning from their peers in other countries. The objective of this research is to document examples of regulators safeguarding the stability of the financial sector while at the same time enabling the flexibility needed by institutions to expand services to the un-banked. The final result would not be a “best practices” compendium but a practical tool based on past experiences, hurdles, and possibilities that can be used to forge an appropriate regulatory regime.

An important set of outputs will focus specifically on regulatory policy. Focus notes and synthetic reviews will be completed on widely-debated issues including interest rate policy, prudential regulation, consumer protection, and the regulation of competition. We anticipate writing 4 substantial focus notes on experience to date. Our aim is to achieve wide dissemination to regulators and policymakers. The main areas of focus will be:

a. Interest Rate Policy

i. Have there been successful instances of interest rate caps?

iii. Where and how have interest rate policies been too restrictive?

iv. What is the effect of slippages in enforcement of interest rate policies?

b. Regulating Competition

i. How have credit bureaus been used effectively?

ii. How have licensing and branching policies been used?

iii. What are the dangers of over-regulation?

iv. To what extent has competition served to reduce costs? Increase service quality? Diminish repayment incentives?

v. Where and how are hands-off policies working?

c. Consumer Protection

i. How can consumers be protected without over-regulating?

ii. What types of consumer protection strategies permit innovation that may bring product improvement and lower costs to customers?



. He has undertaken consultancy assignments in the areas of housing finance, inclusive financial sectors and making markets work for the poor for a range of clients including the Affordable Housing Institute, DFID and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).

The Research Assistant will have the following specific duties:

    Systematizing research: Conceptualizing issues, cataloguing major work to date, assessing evidence, identifying knowledge gaps, detailing issues in moving forward; and Assist with research and writing of focus notes and other publications and materials Work closely with and report directly to David Porteous

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