Behavioural Economics and Financial Inclusion (or How They explained the meaning of Psychoanalizing Contextual Money problems)


Yesterday, Heena Khatri ( Business Lead – Finance) and I attended a day long workshop on Behavioural Economics for Financial Inclusion hosted by Ideas 42 (who apply their knowledge of behavioural economics to design innovative solutions to combat some of the world’s toughest social problems) and the Metlife Foundation. (do NOT miss the brilliant sci-fi reference, because I didn’t)

It turned out that the workshop told me yet another thing I should’ve done in life – studying Behavioural Economics (along with  Aerophysics and by virtue of that, Fluid Dynamics, and probably covert military tactics) instead of plain ‘ol Eco a la Mumbai University .

However, it did seem that between the apparent (lack of) attention I paid to education in college, pure logic (partly idolising Spock *the Star Trek guy, not the local chap who thinks he’s Spock*), my time at CKS and general analytical bent of mind (yes yes, this is the self blowing sunshine up you know where), I was pretty clued in to where the workshop started and where it went. It was more about people behaviour with respect to a certain context that could be defined as a financial situation, as opposed to being purely about economics and/or finance (but then that’s pretty much stating the obvious). It seemed that I was on the right track, but when they put up some questions that we had been asked to send in before the workshop, the question I had asked, ‘Understanding disparities between strata of society’ was used as an example of what were NOT behavioural challenges.

I’m not too sure whether the question was paraphrased and put up there, or whether I just worded it wrong. Since my vocabulary (jargon) has now been corrected due to the workshop, my intended question was more on the lines of –

Societal Strata are often defined by financial divisions and hence there are disparities. However, within these strata, there are a lot of disparities and dividing factors right down to an individual. This is based on how a certain person or set of people react to a particular context (financial situation). It is the understanding of this reaction/set of reactions that could potentially provide a huge insight into designing solutions to problems related to Financial Inclusion.

(warning – do not read above paragraph without pausing to take a breath)

I’m not really sure as to whether this qualifies as a behavioural issue, but this was pretty much what I wanted to say.

While the workshop was very informative, I still felt that cramming everything into a few hours of the day barely skimmed the surface of what was there to explore. A 2-day workshop would have done a lot more justice to the brilliant content that Saugato, Katy and Hyunsoo were putting out there.

Ah well, couldda, shudda, woulda.

Linked here, and here, is a Storified account ( I’m not sure you’d term it as vague, but loose is a better term) of how the day’s events flowed.

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