Global Financial Inclusion

Location: Filzbach, Switzerland

Date: 15 – 19 September, 2013

The third oikos Young Scholars Economics Academy 2013 provides PhD students and young scholars a platform to identify and advance rigorous policy-oriented research on global financial inclusion.

Increasingly the importance of financial inclusion for low and moderate-income households is coming into light as an important element of economic development and growth. Without inclusive financial systems, individuals and households are exposed to a multitude of risks arising from health, weather, and labor market shocks, amongst others, that impede their abilities to improve their incomes. A vast majority of the world’s poor rely on informal risk-sharing; however, such mechanisms are not always available. In many cases, market-based solutions, such as microfinance and microinsurance, are being developed as a more sustainable means of promoting economic security.

The purpose of the oikos Young Scholars Economics Academy 2013 is to bring together young economists to discuss topics related to how households save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk, particularly in the case of limited financial access. The Academy encourages papers that identify innovative products and services to enhance how individuals manage their financial portfolios and transactions.




PhD students and young scholars may submit papers or elaborated research proposals on financial inclusion. Papers in the following areas are particularly encouraged:

  • Savings and risk management among the poor (microfinance, microcredit, microinsurance etc.)
  • Regulatory framework for financial inclusion
  • Formal versus informal financial institutions
  • Financial literacy
  • Role of social networks
  • Remittances

Yi Huang, The Graduate Institute, Switzerland

Yi Huang  

Assistant Professor, Pictet Chair In Finance and Development, The Graduate Institute

Yi Huang

Previously an Economist in the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund, Yi Huang is has recently joined the Graduate Institute as an Assistant Professor with expertise in International macroeconomics and finance, financial economics, and emerging markets. Yi Huang has a PhD from the London Business School and a Master in Economics from the China Centre for Economic Research in Beijing University. He speaks Chinese and English.

His current research projects include precautionary saving, liquid asset holding, financial frictions and FX reserves as well as the effects of valuation adjustment on external wealth. Yi Huang also serves as the research associate at the Globalization & Monetary Policy Institute of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Areas Of Expertise

  • International macroeconomics and finance
  • Financial economics
  • Emerging markets

Shamika Ravi, Indian School of Business, India

Shamika Ravi

Assistant Professor, Indian School of Business

Shamika RaviShamika Ravi is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB). Her research interests are in the areas of Development Economics, Econometrics and Behavioural Economics with a focus on issues in Microfinance, Risk and Insurance. Professor Shamika Ravi collaborates with leading microfinance institutions, commercial banks and NGOs to research topics in financial inclusion, with special emphasis on health insurance, savings and impact of financial literacy. She has recently concluded a pioneering study on the impact of the NREGS on food security and financial inclusion in India.

Professor Ravi is a Fellow at the Microfinance Management Institute, Washington D.C. She has been a consultant for the World Bank, Washington DC and Seva Mandir, Udaipur. She has received research grants from C V Starr Center, NYU (2001, 2003) and MFMI founded by CGAP and Open Society Institute (2006). She holds a PhD in Economics from New York University (2006).

Areas of Expertise

  • Development Economics
  • Econometrics
  • Behavioral Economics

Kim Wilson, Tufts University, USA

Kim Wilson

Lecturer, International Business, Tufts University

Kim WilsonKim Wilson is a lecturer at The Fletcher School and a Fellow with the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises and the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. Spending time in India beginning in 2001 through 2005, Professor Wilson worked closely with savings groups, connecting them to banks with a particular focus on tribal areas. She has worked for Catholic Relief Services heading their Microfinance Unit, and in that tenure, spearheaded CRS’ shift from focusing on credit to the poor to savings of the poor. Professor Wilson has consulted for many international agencies in savings and credit. Previously, she was in the private sector, occupying senior management positions in finance and franchising.

In June 2010, Professor Wilson co-edited Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings (Kumarian Press/Stylus Publishing, 2010).

Areas of Expertise

  • Rural microfinance
  • Disaster mitigation (and microfinance)
  • Customary finance


Catalina Martinez, The Graduate Institute, Switzerland

Catalina Martinez

PhD Candidate, The Graduate Institute, Switzerland

“Profits vs. Impact: What Can Microfinance Teach Us?”

CatalinaCatalina Martínez is a doctoral candidate in Development Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Her research focuses on understanding how market-driven initiatives can grant access to goods, services and opportunities to disenfranchised populations in commercially viable ways. In particular, she is interested in the trade-offs that inclusive businesses face between achieving profits and social impact, as well as in the financial and regulatory constraints that these innovations need to overcome before reaching scale.

Catalina is a consultant for the OECD Project on Innovation and Inclusive Development. She works in the project’s policy analysis and research on inclusive innovations, with a particular focus on Colombia, Indonesia, South Africa, China and India. She is also a research assistant of the Investment Management team at Zurich Insurance Group, where she works in the Strategic Asset Allocation team that assesses risk-return trade-offs and sets the Group’s long-term investment strategy worldwide.

Catalina holds a MSc in International Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She received a BA in Economics and a BA in Philosophy from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. She has also had work experiences at UNCTAD and WTO.

Hany Abdel-Latif, Swansea University, UK

Hany Abdel-Latif

PhD Candidate, Swansea University, UK

“Global Financial Crisis, Credit Access and Child Labour in Tanzania”

HanyHany is a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Economics at Swansea University, UK, where he teaches Economics, Econometrics, and British Economy. He joined Swansea University in 2011 as a PhD candidate. Hany has received a 3-year bursary from Swansea University to complete his PhD thesis. His teaching experience started in 2003 at Mansoura University, Egypt, where he obtained his first degree and postgraduate Diploma in Economics. He received his MSc in International Business Economics from the City University London. His dissertation is titled “The Determinants of ODA in Light of MDGs: A Dynamic Panel Data Analysis”.

His research interest is in Applied Economics. More particularly, Hany is interested in Macroeconomics, Labour Economics and Development Economics. Recently, he has been working on modelling external shocks to developing countries labour markets. In his doctoral thesis, Hany is working on investigating the channels through which financial shocks from developed countries transmit to the real economy in developing countries.

In addition to the above, Hany has done some work on how democratic transition process in Arab countries may affect their economic growth status, in particular how natural resources in oil exporter countries hinder the democratic transition process.

Kadyrbek Sultakeev, Kyrgyz-Turkey Manas University, Kyrgyzstan

Kadyrbek Sultakeev

PhD Candidate, Kyrgyz-Turkey Manas University, Kyrgyzstan

“Impact of Microcredit on Microenterprise Income in Kyrgyzstan”

Kadir_photoStarting in July 2012, Kadyrbek Sultakeev is pursuing a PhD in Microfinance at the Department of Finance, Kyrgyzstan Turkey Manas University. Prior to his doctoral education, he accomplished graduate level studies (master degree) at the same university. In his master’s thesis, he examined the influence of microcredit organizations on poverty reduction in the Post-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic. Kadyrbek worked as a credit specialist in commercial bank from 2006 till 2009. In 2007, he was accredited as a credit specialist and received a certificate exemplifying his ability to independently conduct all necessary steps of processing and disbursing micro loans from the International Project Consult (IPC) GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany on behalf of the Micro and Small Enterprise Finance Facility in the Kyrgyz Republic of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

His work experiences as a credit expert and involvement in the field of microcredit as a research assistant at Kyrgyzstan Turkey Manas University (from 2010-present) enables him to contribute towards improvement of the modern microfinance system and research projects in the Post-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic. Currently he is examining the impact of microcredit on microenterprise’s income.

Luminita Postelnicu, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Luminita Postelnicu

PhD Candidate, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

“Social Capital and Repayment Performance of Group Lending in Microfinance”

luminita-postelnicu-picLuminita Postelnicu is a PhD researcher at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles. Her research focuses on investigating the impact of social capital on the repayment performance of group lending in microfinance. She is a member of the Centre Emile Bernheim and the Centre for European Research in Microfinance. Her research is financed by the Interuniversity Attraction Poles (IAP), and it is carried out under the joint supervision of Professor Niels Hermes (University of Groningen and Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Professor Ariane Szafarz (Université Libre de Bruxelles).

Luminita holds a Master Degree in Economics from The Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest (2009), and a Complementary Master Degree in Microfinance from the European Microfinance Programme, Brussels (2011).

Marie Boltz-Laemmel, Paris School of Economics, France

Marie Boltz-Laemmel

PhD Candidate, Paris School of Economics, France

“How can I say no? Savings and Sharing Pressure in the Extended Family: Evidence from Senegal”

MarieI am a third-year PhD student at the Paris School of Economics. My fields of research are Development Economics and Family Economics. I focus on the effects of informal redistribution in social networks on resource allocation in Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Senegal and Ethiopia.  More precisely, in my thesis, I am interested in analyzing how social pressure to share revenues among one’s family network affects individual saving or labour decisions and risk-copying behaviours. I spent several months collecting data and conducting qualitative field work in Senegal during the first years of my PhD.

Prior to starting the PhD, I obtained a master degree in Economics at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 2008. Then, in 2010, I graduated from the ENSAE ParisTech as a Statistician Economist and obtained a Master degree in Economics at the Paris School of Economics. I did a three-month consultancy for the World Bank in 2009. I enjoy hiking, jogging, playing the saxophone and good diners with friends!

Marjan Petreski, University American College Skopje, Macedonia

Marjan Petreski

Assistant Professor, University American College Skopje, Macedonia

“Do Remittances Reduce Poverty and Inequality in the Western Balkans? Evidence from Macedonia”

Petreski_CHMarjan Petreski (1982) is the Vice-Dean of Research and Scientific Cooperation at the School of Business Economics and Management within the University American College Skopje. He is also the Chairman of the University Research Committee whose objective is to steer the research work at UACS. Marjan specializes in research and teaching in applied macroeconomics. Formerly, he has also been developing his research experience within the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank of Macedonia, as a researcher-macroeconomist.

Marjan earned his MSc in International macroeconomics from the University of Sheffield in 2006 and his PhD in Economics at Staffordshire University, UK in 2011. His research has been published in recognized international journals, like Economic Systems, Eastern European Economics, Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, International Journal of Monetary Economics and Finance, Focus on European Economic Integration; and presented at many international conferences. For his research, he has been awarded the Young Scientist Award 2009 by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Olga Radzyner Award 2010 by the Central Bank of Austria and the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development 2013 by the Government of Japan and GDN. Marjan has been also a consultant of the World Bank and the United Nations.

Presently he is the Career Integration Fellow of CERGE-EI Prague. A field of his academic interest is monetary policy and international finance, as well as time-series analysis, dynamic panel econometrics and macro-econometric models.

Mateusz Trawiński, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Mateusz Trawiński

PhD candidate, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

“The Powerlessness of Yes: How Regulatory Failure Lead to the Biggest Bank Collapse in US History”

Mateusz TrawinskiMateusz Trawiński is a third year PhD student in the Institute of Sociology at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland.  His main fields of research are informal relations, role of corporate crime in financial crisis and agency theory. In his PhD, he focuses on the phenomenon of unregulated agency problems and how they contributed to financial crisis of 2008.

During PhD studies, he worked as a research assistant in both scientific and commercial research projects. He participated in a research project on national security entitled “Monitoring, identification, and countering threats to the security of citizens” and conducted by Polish Platform for Homeland Security. Currently he is a research assistant in a project “A Slight Modification or a Dramatic Shift: Fundamentals of Social Theory and Western Civilization and the Problem of Agency from the Perspective of Neuroscience” awarded by National Science Centre.

Nidhi Kaicker, University of Delhi, India

Nidhi Kaicker

PhD Candidate, University of Delhi, India

“Relationship between Financial Sector Development and Economic Development”

Nidhi KaickerNidhi Kaicker is an Assistant Professor at the School of Business, Public Policy and Social Entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University (Delhi), and her areas of teaching include Economics, Financial Modeling, International Business, and Mergers and Acquisitions.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi. Since 2010, she is pursuing her PhD from FMS. The title of her proposed thesis is “Market Failure, Financial Sector, and Macro Policy: An Indian Perspective”. In her thesis, she includes three essays related to financial markets. In the first, she studies the volatility patterns in the Indian equity markets, using Random Matrices, and in the second, she relates these to macroeconomic factors using conditional heteroscedastic models. The third essay examines the impact of development of banking sector on growth, poverty and inequality.

Nidhi has also worked in the area of corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions in the Investment Banking division at Merrill Lynch in 2007-08, and has also done several internships in the financial services and private equity Industry. She has also engaged herself in various community service activities, and her hobbies include dance and craft work.

Her areas of research are Financial Markets, Behavioural Finance, Agriculture and Food Security, Poverty and Nutrition, Privatisation and Role of the State, and Financial Econometrics.

Nino Samchkuashvili, Akaki Tsereteli State University, Georgia

Nino Samchkuashvili

PhD Candidate, Akaki Tsereteli State University, Georgia

“Influence of Direct Foreign Investments on Growth of the Georgian Economy”

NinoNino Samchkuashvili is a third year Ph.D. Student in the Department of economics at Akaki Tsereteli State University. Her research focuses on the influence of foreign investment on the Georgian economy. She is working on following research: “Influence of direct foreign investments on growth of the Georgian economy”. Nino holds two master’s degrees, one in Business Economics and Management from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Greece and a second one in International Economical Relationships from the Georgian State Agrarian University. Nino currently lectures in Accounting and Financial Accounting at the Tourism Academy and Tbilisi Independent Teaching University.

Sophia Kan, University of Göttingen, Germany

Sophia Kan

PhD Candidate, University of Göttingen, Germany

SophiaSophia Kan is a doctoral student in the Department of Development Economics at the University of Göttingen, Germany.  Her research interests include remittances, health care, and education.  She is currently working on a research topic analyzing the impact of remittances on health care behavior among households in Tajikistan.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Erfurt, and a master’s degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University.  Outside of academia, her hobbies include bouldering and snowboarding.

Stephen Oluwatobi, Covenant University, Nigeria

Stephen Oluwatobi

PhD Candidate, Covenant University, Nigeria

“Remittance and Bank Breadth in Nigeria: Microeconometric Evidence”

Stephen OluwatobiStephen Oluwatobi is currently a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Economics and Development Studies at Covenant University, Nigeria. His research interests include human capital, startups, innovative entrepreneurship, education and knowledge economy.

He currently serves on the iFund Reach for the Stars, a social enterprise aimed at facilitating ideas and translating them into products and startups.

His research explores the role of government expenditure on human capital development in Nigeria and its impact on economic growth. He works with a team of researchers aimed at exploring remittances and bank breadth in Nigeria. The main contribution of this study is the use of household data to examine the relationship between remittance and bank breadth, taking into consideration the individual household and household migrant effect. The study postulates that individual household and household migrant characteristics affect this relationship because attributes such as poverty, size, education, migrant affinity with remittance recipient, and current work condition of the migrant can affect the extent of remittances to the recipients and their desire to open a bank account.

Stephen currently explores knowledge-driven economic development in Nigeria. He earned his B.Sc. Economics as well as his M.Sc. Economics from Covenant University where he served as a graduate assistant before pursuing his doctoral studies at the same institution.

Tania Lorena Lopez Urresta, Frankfurt School of Management, Germany

Tania Lorena Lopez Urresta

PhD Candidate, Frankfurt School of Management, Germany

Patterns that Drive Local and Foreign Investments in Microfinance Institutions: The Ecuadorian Case”

TaniaTania Lorena Lopez studied Business Administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She also holds degrees as a Certified Public Accountant and in Human Resources Management, and Constructivism and Education. In 2010, through a grant received from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she graduated from the IV Edition of the Master in Microfinance at the University of Bergamo, Italy. Starting in October 2011, she is pursuing her PHD at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Tania held lectureships for bachelor students at Eloy Alfaro University of Manta, Ecuador.

While attending the PhD programme, she is collaborating as an investment manager for its Microfinance Fund at Frankfurt School Financial Services. Prior to starting her doctoral education in Frankfurt, she worked as an analyst in Microfinance Rating (one of the four rating agencies in the world specialized in Microfinance), and did an internship with Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Moreover, possessing more than 10 years of national and international professional experience gained in performing management, financial, accounting, human resources, projects, among others.

Her research focuses are related to the microfinance field, and finance in developing countries. Currently, she is examining the patterns that attract different kinds of investors to microfinance.  She is particularly interested in the application of empirical methods and experiments to her research topics.

Xin Zhao, University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France

Xin Zhao

PhD Candidate, University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France

“Sovereign Rating Adjustment using Market Information” 

XinXin is a PhD candidate from University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, majored in applied mathematics. The topic of her thesis is `Long Term Risk Analysis and Modeling’. The domains of her study cover long-memory modeling applied on risk measures, sovereign ratings and corporate ratings. She has been actively participating in seminars and conferences worldwide. She also teaches for some master lectures in university Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne.

Yi Yao (Kitty), Peking University, China

Yi Yao (Kitty)

Assistant Professor, Peking University, China

“Adverse selection in emerging health insurance markets: Evidence from microinsurance in Pakistan” 

Yi Yao's photo

Yi Yao (Kitty) currently serves as Assistant Professor in Risk Management and Insurance Department in School of Economics of Peking University. She graduated with a Ph.D. degree from Actuarial Science, Risk Management and Insurance Department in Business School of University of Wisconsin in Madison in August 2012, with a dissertation focused on sustainability of micro insurance program in Pakistan. Prior to join the Ph.D. program in Wisconsin, she obtained her bachelor and master degrees in Economics from Peking University.

Teaching is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding tasks. She is currently teaching undergraduate courses including Life and Health Insurance, Principles of Risk Management, and Introduction to Insurance. And she won the 1st prize in the teaching competition in Peking University in 2012. She also won Henry C. Naiman Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award when she was a teaching assistant in UW-Madison.

Her research interest includes microinsurance, health insurance, insurance fraud and sustainability issues. Her dissertation consists of two parts. In the first part, it focuses on the sustainability issues of a micro health insurance program in Pakistan by identifying whether the risk portfolio deteriorates as policyholders renew their contracts. This paper was chosen as the winner of Shin Research Excellence Award by International Insurance Society in 2012, and was published in the Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance: Issues and Practice in 2013. In the second part, it focuses on detecting the existence of adverse selection and how to build a better design to alleviate adverse selection and its impact on sustainability of micro health insurance programs.

She enjoys swimming, hiking and traveling and she is looking forward to meeting other young scholars in Filzbach.