The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is pleased to announce the 2022 Digital Credit Observatory (DCO) Impact Evaluations Request for Proposals, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As digital financial services (DFS) continue to evolve and expand in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there remains a dearth of evidence on how DFS affects the welfare of highly diverse population segments. This RFP seeks to bolster the evidence base on DFS to inform important regulatory, policy, and product design decisions for the sector.
The DCO has roughly $450k to spend on impact evaluation research over the next two years. We anticipate funding 2-5 projects during this time. The DCO invites proposals for studies that speak to the short- or long-run impacts of digital credit on consumer welfare, by addressing one or more of the following research questions:
To what extent do recent innovations in digital credit improve or harm the welfare of borrowers?
Which aspects of products are most likely to be beneficial (or harmful)? To what degree are welfare impacts heterogeneous by the characteristics of borrowers (e.g. financial literacy, time preferences, income, and/or gender)? Particular consideration will be given where data resources and methodologies allow researchers to better understand product usage and impacts on women, low literacy populations, vulnerable minorities, and first-time adopters.
Can new types of products (or product features) more successfully reach and benefit specific customer segments and use cases? We are open to proposed evaluations of digital credit products beyond uncollateralized consumer credit (e.g. products designed to reach farmers or SMEs, or other innovative collateral arrangements).
How can non-traditional credit-scoring algorithms, regulations, and other consumer protection measures be designed to minimize default, over-indebtedness, leakage, fraud and other risks to consumers?
To apply, please use our online Submittable portal to complete a brief series of questions about your project and upload a PDF of your proposal narrative and budget. Please see the full Request for Proposals for details about the application process. You can contact our staff team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Deadline for Proposals: Friday, April 28, 2023 at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.