About the Empowerment Lab

The Empowerment Lab promotes innovations that extend the reach of markets in developing countries. The Lab focuses on research and activities to promote growth and economic inclusion, uncovering, promoting, and applying sustainable ways to empower the global poor by providing them with access to key markets. Founded with a seed grant from the MPOWER Foundation, the Lab is led by CID Director Professor Ricardo Hausmann at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.

To achieve its mission, The Empowerment Lab (EL) conducts and supports research that expands the boundaries of our knowledge about access to markets for the underserved. To date, the EL has awarded five grants to faculty from throughout Harvard University - including Harvard Business School (HBS), Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS), and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) – and to one Harvard PhD student.
These include:

  1. Nava Ashraf (HBS): Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador
  2. Shawn Cole (HBS): Innovative Methods to Manage Risk: Technological Solutions for Small-Scale Farmers in India
  3. Rohini Pande (HKS): Political Mobilization in Coastal India: A Randomized Field Experiment on the Impact of Television on Voting Behavior
  4. Rema Hanna (HKS): Improving Access to Credit for the Rural Poor in India
  5. Erica Field (FAS): Self-Help Groups for Empowering Adolescent Girls in Bangladesh
  6. Chris Roberts (HKS doctoral student): Subjective Well-being in the Development Context: Identifying the Impact of Income, Work, and Structural Transformation

About the MPOWER Foundation
The MPOWER Foundation is the philanthropic arm of MPOWER Ventures, a socially committed venture capital fund investing in financial service with a focus on international payments, mobile payments, and retail financial services. MPOWER’s mission is to empower the underserved by accelerating the growth of businesses that bring new and needed products and services to underserved markets.