"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, Washington Post

"The book's methodology and conclusions are fascinating." – Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating new book" – Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times "On the Ground"

"The research provides evidence of the sophistication with which poor people think about their finances." – The Economist

"A good overview of how the world's poor intersect with financial institutions at the micro level." – Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

"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." – The New Yorker


November 10, 2010, Nextbillion blog: Civilizing the ‘Wild West’ of Microfinance

October 13, 2010, World Bank Private Sector Development Blog

July 16, 2010, Huffington Post: New Financial Services for the Poor

June 9, 2010, The Hindu: Three opportunities for microfinance providers

May 13, 2010, Enlightened Economist: Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists

May 7, 2010, NYU economist explains how the worlds poor live on $2/day

May 4, 2010, Hindustan Times: Microfinance has lost its halo

April 7, 2010, Seattle Times: Microfinancing changes lives around the world — measurably

March 28, 2010, Financial Express: Loan waivers have not substantially damaged micro finance repayment regimen

March 26, 2010, Times of India: Public services often fail as they're designed from top down

March 25, 2010, Rajasthan Patrika Joint Savings for a better Life: reveals research

March 24, 2010, Speech by Princess Máxima of the Netherlands

March 18, 2010, Mail Today: Financial architect finds out how the poor live on $2

March 16, 2010, Bombay News.Net: Micro-finance guru unveils new vision for poor

March 1, 2010, Journal of Enterprise & Society Review

January 22, 2010, New Security Beat Video: How the Worlds Poor Live on $2 a Day

December 18, 2009, Science Magazine: Rich Financial Lives of Poor People

December 18, 2009, VoxEU Podcast: Portfolios of the Poor

December 15, 2009, Ethics and International Affairs: Book review

December 7, 2009, Boston Public Radio: Changing Micro Credit

December 2, 2009, New America Foundation: Wrong clients, or wrong products?

November 24, 2009, Knowledge @ Wharton: Microfinances Elusive Quest: Finding an Accurate Measure of Social Impact

October 21, 2009, Brother, Can You Lend a Dime?

October 5, 2009, Does Microcredit Really Help Poor People? How? And how do we know?

October 2009, Jonathan Morduch on microcredit

September 27, 2009, Boston Globe: Measuring impact of microfinance

September 21, 2009, TIME Magazine: Why the Worlds Poor Refuse Insurance

September 17, 2009, The Guardian: Books for review: Portfolios of the Poor

September 4, 2009, Wall Street Journal: Debunking Myths about the Poor and Financial Services

September 4, 2009, The main problem with living on $2 a day

September, 2009, Microfinance Insights: Interview with Jonathan Morduch and Orlanda Ruthven

September, 2009, Microfinance Insights: Book Review

September 2009, Zocalo: Living on Two Dollars a Day

August 29, 2009, Development Drums: Podcast on Portfolios of the Poor

August 25, 2009, The Economist: The debate over a bubble in microlending

August 21, 2009, Foreign Policy: What the Worlds Poorest Can Teach Us About Money Management

July 27, 2009, ABC Radio: Living on $2 a Day

July 13, 2009, Fox Business News

July 13, 2009, BBC Today

July 10, 2009, Counterpunch: Diaries of the Distressed

July 8, 2009, NPR: Making a Life on $2 a Day

June 29, 2009, The New Yorker

June 24, 2009, Austrian Radio FM4 Reality Check     (click to play audio)

June 23, 2009, Mint: Poor aren't lifeless bricks

June 21, 2009, Daily Kos: Living on $2 a Day: An Interview with Economist Jonathan Morduch

June 19, 2009, Washington Post: Schools, Weddings and Funerals on $2 a Day

June 9, 2009, WBUR: How to Live on $2 a Day

June 3, 2009, Guardian Business Podcast: General Motors, Microfinance and the Eurozone

May 22, 2009, The New American Foundation: "The Read Tragedy of Poverty": Insights from exploring portfolios of the poor

May 21, 2009, The Globe and Mail: Social Studies

May 18, 2009, New York Times, The Poor Have Financial Discipline

May 17, 2009, Boston Globe: Financial secrets of the world's poorest people

May 14, 2009, Economist: Smooth Operators

May 11, 2009, Financial Diaries of the Bottom Billion

May 8, 2009, Economist: Saving when you earn $2 a day.

Feb. 14, 2009, Financial Times: "Does Nobody Want to Take Money from the Poor?"


"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

"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