Emily Breza

Emily is an Assistant Professor at Columbia Business School. She received her Ph.D. from the MIT Economics Department and focuses on development economics and household finance in her studies. She is particularly interested in how financial decision-making interacts with both social effects and behavioral biases, and how financial product design can better integrate these factors. Some of her current research aims to use social networks to help present-biased savers better accomplish their goals. She is also involved in a project to understand the impacts of the 2010 Andhra Pradesh microfinance ordinance, which stopped all collections and lending activities of microlenders, on previous microfinance borrowers.

Content by Emily Breza
  • Blog post

    Learning to navigate a new financial technology: Evidence from Bangladesh

    How do consumers learn to navigate a new financial technology? An experiment with workers from Bangladesh suggests that experience makes a difference In the past decade, more than one billion people have gained access to a bank or mobile money account (World Bank 2017).  While this shift has provided households with greater choice and autonomy, there is also...

    16 Feb 2022 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Blog post

    Electronic salary payment for better financial planning in Bangladesh

    Electronic payments smooth consumption by reducing transaction costs and avoiding drops in consumption at the end of the month, thereby generating welfare benefits for workers and business. However, this is dependent on the timing of the payment. Low-income households around the world face the challenge of budgeting their monthly lump-sum salary payment until the next...

    28 Feb 2018 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Scarcity at the end of the month: A field experiment with garment factory workers in Bangladesh

    Dealing with sudden, unpredicted financial costs such as health expenses or unemployment poses a particular challenge for people living in the poorest households, whose income often barely allows them to get by. In Bangladesh, many garment factory workers struggle to make their incomes stretch until the next payday, forcing them to seek credit, often from informal...

    19 Jan 2018 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Publication - Project Report

    Scarcity at the end of the month: First results from a field experiment in Bangladesh

    31 Jul 2017 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Blog post

    Real effects of electronic wage payments: Bangladeshi factory workers

    Electronic wage payments offer an alternative to traditional financial inclusion approaches for the un-banked. Addressing constraints to savings can allow wages and remittance flows to poor households to translate into greater asset accumulation and resilience to financial or consumption shock. More than two billion people around the world do not have access to electronic...

    6 Apr 2017 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Publication - Project Report

    The real effects of electronic wage payments

    27 Mar 2017 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Project

    The real effects of electronic wage payments: An experiment with salaried factory workers in Bangladesh

    This study investigated whether employers can assist their workers in developing basic financial capability through the use of electronic wage payments. We tested whether direct deposits have an effect on workers’ savings, remittances, consumption and use of credit. Digital wage payments increased savings and the ability to cope with unanticipated shocks. All...

    24 Nov 2016 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Project

    Scarcity at the end of the month - A field experiment with garment factory workers in Bangladesh

    This study tested how an improvement in the ability to smooth income (either through changes in the frequency of wage payments or the availability of a short-term savings product) affects worker productivity. We designed a randomised controlled trial (RCT) that varied the income stream of Bangladeshi garment workers over time by offering a bonus payment of 10-15% to...

    24 Nov 2016 | Emily Breza, Martin Kanz, Leora Klapper

  • Project

    Labor Rationing and Forced Entrepreneurship in Village India: Estimates from Experimental Aggregate Demand Shocks

    There is a growing policy consensus that increases in firm productivity, especially a move from small to medium sized enterprises, is an important growth strategy. However, the means to accomplish this, and the main impediments that prevent this transition, remain less clear. A large body of work has centered on removing potential market frictions, with much of the focus on...

    10 Dec 2014 | Supreet Kaur, Emily Breza, Yogita Shamdasani