Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Penny Wise

Ever wondered how your maid survives on her earnings? Like a billion others across the world, your maid too manages with less than $2 (around Rs90) a day. How would you eat two meals, educate your children, afford a home, fight emergencies and plan for old age? For her, these are everyday questions to grapple with.

But it turns out she does not live hand-to-mouth. She applies a complex combination of financial strategies to keep afloat. It is often hard work, and it can carry high costs—some of which are social and psychological, not just economic. Collecting year-long financial diaries of households in Bangladesh, India and South Africa, Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven weave the complexities of the financial lives of the poor into a readable narrative in their book Portfolios of the Poor....more

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