Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$21.01
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.97
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 48%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $12.97   
  • New (10) from $17.20   
  • Used (4) from $12.97   

Overview

"A must-read book for social entrepreneurs combating global poverty. . . . Skip the latest road-to-riches screed about serving the bottom of the pyramid and throw out your white papers from the World Bank. . . . Portfolios of the Poor is your new bible."--Jonathan C. Lewis, I on Poverty

"Too often, conversations about the needs of the world's poor are based on assumptions and clichés. This important, carefully researched, and compelling book presents the facts about the poor and their relationship to finance."--Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life

"This is an important, boots-on-the-ground look at how microfinance functions in the developing world. The descriptions of how poor households manage their limited resources are exciting, raw, and novel, and I found myself unable to put the book down."--Edward Miguel, University of California, Berkeley and coauthor of Economic Gangsters

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Economist
The research provides evidence of the sophistication with which poor people think about their finances.
The Enlightened Economist
A masterly assessment of the financial needs of people on very low incomes . . . stuffed full of interesting and surprising insights, and should be read by anyone concerned with economic development and poverty reduction. I can't praise it highly enough. This is a model of the careful collection of evidence with important practical consequences.
— Diane Coyle
The Huffington Post
I recommend this book to anyone who has interest in improving the lives of the poor.
— Melinda Gates, Co-chair, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Development and Change
[T]his is a great book. It remains an excellent survey of the poors' realities, certainly a 'must-have' for all researchers interested in the financial practices of the poor and microfinance.
— Marek Hudon
Round Table
[T]he book is enlightening, methodologically credible and accessible; it is recommended.
— Roger MacGinty
NYTimes.com
A fascinating discussion of the finances of the world's poor.
— Nicholas Kristof
New Yorker
Ten years ago, the authors of this unusual study began collecting detailed yearlong 'financial diaries' from households in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa. . . . The diarists did things that might seem irrational—borrowing in order to save; paying interest on savings—but that made sense given their unpredictable incomes and limited options. While the authors do offer prescriptions for how to expand those options, it's their scrupulous attention to actual behavior that makes this book invaluable.
Science
The authors of Portfolios of the Poor found that a 'triple whammy' characterizes the financial lives of the poor. Incomes are not only low; they are also irregular and unpredictable. . . . The authors' account suggests much that can be done to ease the financial conditions of poor people.
— Anirudh Krishna
Washington Post
A refreshingly distinct path. Portfolios of the Poor . . . avoid[s] the big picture and zoom[s] in on the basics of daily poverty, exploring how poor families manage their money. . . . The diaries reveal a 'real, ongoing, and substantial demand' for better financial services, which poor families need to provide better health care and schooling for their children. . . . Rather than waiting for the world to debate and accept their ideas, these authors have taken them up on their own. In the war against global poverty, that feels like one small battle won.
— Carlos Lozada
Choice
This is a very interesting book, which examines the quite sophisticated financial system developed by poor households to adjust their spending relative to their income.
Enterprise and Society
This book is a major contribution to the understanding of the situation of the poor in developing countries and should be a 'must reading' for both academics and policymakers concerned with ways of improving developmental policies.
— Werner Baer
Marginal Revolution
A good overview of how the world's poor intersect with financial institutions at the micro level.
— Tyler Cowen
Ethics & International Affairs
[A] fascinating and humanizing insight into the economic lives of the global poor, and a valuable resource for attempting to improve those lives.
Population and Development Review
The book is written in a non-technical style accessible to the lay reader. . . . [I]t makes a compelling case about the desperation of poverty, as well as the ingenuity of the people who live under conditions of poverty.
— Sajeda Amin
Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture
[W]e learn much about how the poor manage whatever little money they have. On that ground alone I highly recommend the book.
— Rolf A.E. Muller
Foreign Affairs
As Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, and Ruthven summarize their argument, 'Not having enough money is bad enough. Not being able to manage whatever money you have is worse.' Their book is a detailed effort to understand how poor people manage—and, frequently, mismanage—the meager resources at their disposal. They draw on more than 250 financial diaries collected in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa that tracked how money was earned and spent, along with interviews with the diarists. The result is a unique window onto what poverty means for these households.
— Timothy Besley
Danny Reviews
The authors of Portfolios of the Poor . . . make a convincing case both for the importance of finance in the lives of the extremely poor and for there being room to improve the provision of financial services to them.
NYTimes.com - Nicholas Kristof
A fascinating discussion of the finances of the world's poor.
Science - Anirudh Krishna
The authors of Portfolios of the Poor found that a 'triple whammy' characterizes the financial lives of the poor. Incomes are not only low; they are also irregular and unpredictable. . . . The authors' account suggests much that can be done to ease the financial conditions of poor people.
Washington Post - Carlos Lozada
A refreshingly distinct path. Portfolios of the Poor . . . avoid[s] the big picture and zoom[s] in on the basics of daily poverty, exploring how poor families manage their money. . . . The diaries reveal a 'real, ongoing, and substantial demand' for better financial services, which poor families need to provide better health care and schooling for their children. . . . Rather than waiting for the world to debate and accept their ideas, these authors have taken them up on their own. In the war against global poverty, that feels like one small battle won.
The Huffington Post - Melinda Gates
I recommend this book to anyone who has interest in improving the lives of the poor.
The Enlightened Economist - Diane Coyle
A masterly assessment of the financial needs of people on very low incomes . . . stuffed full of interesting and surprising insights, and should be read by anyone concerned with economic development and poverty reduction. I can't praise it highly enough. This is a model of the careful collection of evidence with important practical consequences.
Enterprise and Society - Werner Baer
This book is a major contribution to the understanding of the situation of the poor in developing countries and should be a 'must reading' for both academics and policymakers concerned with ways of improving developmental policies.
Marginal Revolution - Tyler Cowen
A good overview of how the world's poor intersect with financial institutions at the micro level.
Population and Development Review - Sajeda Amin
The book is written in a non-technical style accessible to the lay reader. . . . [I]t makes a compelling case about the desperation of poverty, as well as the ingenuity of the people who live under conditions of poverty.
Enterprise, Development and Microfinance - Isabelle Guerin
Portfolios of the Poor should be read by anyone interested in microfinance, but also who interested in poverty more generally and in how the poor manage their day-to-day lives.
Development and Change - Marek Hudon
[T]his is a great book. It remains an excellent survey of the poors' realities, certainly a 'must-have' for all researchers interested in the financial practices of the poor and microfinance.
Round Table - Roger MacGinty
[T]he book is enlightening, methodologically credible and accessible; it is recommended.
Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture - Rolf A.E. Muller
[W]e learn much about how the poor manage whatever little money they have. On that ground alone I highly recommend the book.
Foreign Affairs - Timothy Besley
As Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, and Ruthven summarize their argument, 'Not having enough money is bad enough. Not being able to manage whatever money you have is worse.' Their book is a detailed effort to understand how poor people manage—and, frequently, mismanage—the meager resources at their disposal. They draw on more than 250 financial diaries collected in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa that tracked how money was earned and spent, along with interviews with the diarists. The result is a unique window onto what poverty means for these households.
Enterprise, Development and Microfinance - Isabelle Guérin
Portfolios of the Poor should be read by anyone interested in microfinance, but also who interested in poverty more generally and in how the poor manage their day-to-day lives.
From the Publisher

"Portfolios of the Poor should be read by anyone interested in microfinance, but also who interested in poverty more generally and in how the poor manage their day-to-day lives."--Isabelle Guérin, Enterprise, Development and Microfinance

"[T]his is a great book. It remains an excellent survey of the poors' realities, certainly a 'must-have' for all researchers interested in the financial practices of the poor and microfinance."--Marek Hudon, Development and Change

"[T]he book is enlightening, methodologically credible and accessible; it is recommended."--Roger MacGinty, Round Table

"[W]e learn much about how the poor manage whatever little money they have. On that ground alone I highly recommend the book."--Rolf A.E. Muller, Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

"As Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, and Ruthven summarize their argument, 'Not having enough money is bad enough. Not being able to manage whatever money you have is worse.' Their book is a detailed effort to understand how poor people manage--and, frequently, mismanage--the meager resources at their disposal. They draw on more than 250 financial diaries collected in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa that tracked how money was earned and spent, along with interviews with the diarists. The result is a unique window onto what poverty means for these households."--Timothy Besley, Foreign Affairs

"The authors of Portfolios of the Poor . . . make a convincing case both for the importance of finance in the lives of the extremely poor and for there being room to improve the provision of financial services to them."--Danny Reviews

"One of my favourite books. It gathers new evidence about the financial services people on very low incomes need--and the answers are sometimes surprising. Should be read by anyone with views on microcredit and/or payday loans."--Enlightened Economist

Washington Post
A refreshingly distinct path. Portfolios of the Poor . . . avoid[s] the big picture and zoom[s] in on the basics of daily poverty, exploring how poor families manage their money. . . . The diaries reveal a 'real, ongoing, and substantial demand' for better financial services, which poor families need to provide better health care and schooling for their children. . . . Rather than waiting for the world to debate and accept their ideas, these authors have taken them up on their own. In the war against global poverty, that feels like one small battle won.
— Carlos Lozada
Science
The authors of Portfolios of the Poor found that a 'triple whammy' characterizes the financial lives of the poor. Incomes are not only low; they are also irregular and unpredictable. . . . The authors' account suggests much that can be done to ease the financial conditions of poor people.
— Anirudh Krishna
Publishers Weekly

Veterans in economics and microfinance scrutinize the finances of the poor in India, Bangladesh and South Africa. Following their 250 subjects for a year, the researchers compile family "financial diaries" and report on how the poor spend money and the myriad resources that function like portfolios. A confluence of circumstances the authors term a "triple whammy" (low and unreliable income, irregular cash flows and financial instruments ill-suited to the needs of this population) makes saving essential, and the poor depend on savings clubs, insurance clubs, money guarders or microfinance institutions. It is often a piecemeal approach, and any emergency can have disastrous consequences. With the advent of Muhammad Yunus's Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1976 and Grameen II in 2001, the growing global profile of microfinance might give the population more access to funds through reliable, flexible means-but the majority must turn to family, friends, neighbors or moneylenders. While the book's methodology and conclusions are fascinating, it is a complex and technical analysis best suited for those fluent in economics and public policy. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
New York Times "On the Ground"
A fascinating new book
— Nicholas D. Kristof
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691148199
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/19/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 346,044
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


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.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Tables vii

List of Figures ix

Chapter 1 The Portfolios of the Poor 1

Chapter 2 The Daily Grind 28

Chapter 3 Dealing with Risk 65

Chapter 4 Building Blocks: Creating Usefully Large Sums 95

Chapter 5 The Price of Money 132

Chapter 6 Rethinking Microfinance: The Grameen II Diaries 154

Chapter 7 Better Portfolios 174

Appendix 1 The Story behind the Portfolios 185

Appendix 2 A Selection of Portfolios 211

Acknowledgments 243

Notes 247

Bibliography 265

Index 273

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2012

    Good reading for serious policy types.

    This book is exactly what it should be if it is intended for serious students or analysts developing policies. I enjoyed it, but it could profit by a parallel book for non-policy analysts. That book could show the conclusions, with a lot less discussion of the methodology used. That book could be about 1/3 the length of this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)