How do households make financial decisions while juggling competing demands, having only limited resources and with incomplete access to finance? Given the ever-increasing complexity of financial lives for low and middle-income households, this area of research can critically guide the development of both financial markets and appropriate products that better serve the needs of customers.
Dvara Research’s Household Finance Research initiative aims to rigorously understand the financial choices and decisions of low-income or excluded individuals and households, and their relation to achieving households’ objectives. It has been our consistent endeavor to study financial inclusion as a gateway to a suite of appropriate financial services eventually enabling well-rounded household balance sheets and consumer financial well-being.
We believe that careful research and a comprehensive body of evidence can powerfully inform market practices and the design of financial sector policy to deliver comprehensive financial services for all individuals, households, and enterprises, and eventually serve to create a safe environment in which formerly excluded populations may fully experience the benefits of financial inclusion. This research initiative seeks to significantly expand the scope of India-specific and policy-focused household finance research that is timely and relevant to current financial sector development.
The Household Finance Research Initiative focuses on two broad themes. The first aims to generate a richer understanding of the goals and opportunities that households face in their financial lives and their use of financial and non-financial strategies to achieve these goals. The cumulative outcomes of these strategies or the results from the interaction of poorly designed or unsuitably delivered market-prevalent financial products can lead to sub-optimal portfolio allocations for households, also known as ‘financial mistakes’. Our second research theme aims to unpack the complex interaction of demand and supply factors that result in these mistakes, and to inform product design improvements or policy initiatives to minimize their incidence as well as mitigate their harmful consequences for vulnerable households.