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

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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.

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From the Back Cover:

"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

About 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.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780691141480: Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day

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ISBN 10: 0691141487 ISBN 13: 9780691141480
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9788178242897: Portfolios Of The Poor

Perman..., 2013
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9781919895192: Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day

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