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New Evidence

Financial Numeracy Studies

To push financial inclusion practice to better serve oral people, we engage development practitioners, savings groups promoters, and financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, microfinance institutions, and mobile money agents. We do this through studies designed to illuminate the dimensions of financial innumeracy and demonstrate the principles of OIM design.

Until recently, leaders in microfinance and financial inclusion did not realize that very large populations – half the population of many nations – cannot read two or three-digit numeral strings, much less the financial amounts commonly used in countries where the equivalent of one US dollar is a three, four, or five-digit number.

We have shown this in various field tests of numeracy capabilities (see the list below) and two large, nationally randomized samples in Côte d’Ivoire and Myanmar conducted under the Financial Inclusion Insights 10-country survey project in 2017 (reported in our paper titled “Measuring Numeracy for Financial Inclusion: Results of a Pilot Test,” published as a CGAP Background Paper in 2019).