Just as increasing use of a “gender lens” has transformed thinking about and the practice of international development in recent decades, so too can behavioral economics in the near future. In some cases, this discipline explains and reaffirms current practice. In other cases, the study of behavioral economics provides an alternative explanation of why some things work and others don’t. In still other cases, it suggests that current thinking and so-called “best practices” are wrong and counter-productive. Now and then, it prompts us to consider readopting a practice that has fallen out of favor.
Now, I will comment on the specific insights and implications I see for microfinance and international development when looked at through a behavioral economics lens.