Volume 4, Issue 3: … free online access to latest articles

ACRN Journal of Finance and Risk Perspectives
Vol. 4, Issue 3, July 2015, ISSN 2305-7394

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Special Issue - Social and Sustainable Finance and Impact Investing


pdf TABLE OF CONTENTS



pdf A ROLE OF SOCIAL FINANCE BY A COOPERATIVE: A CASE STUDY OF GREEN COOP FUKUOKA, JAPAN


Sachiko Nakagawa
1
1 Keio University, Japan
Abstract: Social finance has filled the important role for financially excluded people in Japan. Especially, Green Coop Fukuoka is remarkable because Green Coop Fukuoka not only loans money to financially excluded people but also implements regular face-to-face counseling on family budget management to them for an indefinite period after lending. In addition, Green Coop Fukuoka finances both members and non-members by utilizing investments from members. The central purpose of this chapter is to show what enables members to cooperate with Green Coop Fukuoka to help financially excluded people regardless of whether they are a member or not, and what extent Green Coop Fukuoka can connect those people with comfortable life. As a result of interviews with Green Coop Fukuoka and the partner of Fukuoka Prefectural Government, I found that in-depth discussion about causes of financial exclusion and importance of mutual help and solidarity for solution among members drew their understanding and cooperation to tackle financial exclusion. Furthermore, most of 9,000 clients could solve their financial problems and regain comfortable life. In the conclusion, I stressed importance of the initiative by Green Coop Fukuoka and Fukuoka Prefectural Government for the development of social finance in Japan and the realization of inclusive society.
Keywords: Social Finance, Cooperatives, Green Economy, Japan

pdf LEVERAGING DEVELOPMENT WITH TECHNOLOGY AND MICROFINANCE

Roberto Moro Visconti
1
1
Department of Business Administration, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy

Abstract: The poor are typically isolated, lacking opportunities and being deprived of necessary developmental assets such as proper communication and networking. Network theories may thus act as an original starting point for interpreting issues of poverty, which can be alleviated by combining basic technology with affordable funding programs such as microcredit. Value-adding technology, levered by microfinance, may then be sequentially added to the development paradigm. To the extent that technology and microfinance can be suitably combined, they may lever scalable productivity, in a way similar to Metcalfe’s exponential upsides for networking organizations. This may happen for instance with M-banking, within a ‘digital culture’ environment, and with viral social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, or Mobile Apps.
Keywords:
Poverty traps, Microfinance, Mobile banking, Metcalfe’s networking, Mobile Apps.

pdf A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO FINANCIAL LITERACY EDUCATION

Mark Brimble and Levon Blue
1
1
Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia

Abstract: Financial literacy education (FLE) continues to gain momentum globally with a view to combating the reported financial illiteracy experienced around the globe with the aim of delivering significant economic and social benefits as well. With this in mind, when educating individuals about personal finances through FLE, an understanding that not everyone has a focus on wealth accumulation is required to educate in ways that are socially just, responsible and sustainable. We argue that moving towards a more holistic and sustainable approach to FLE is timely and put forward an alternative approach to the often narrow and information provision approach that focus on ‘technical’ issues such as budgeting. FLE is so much more than learning how to budget and it is time to move on from this over prescribed approach.

Keywords: Financial Education, Financial Literacy, Critical Theory

pdf DISAMBIGUATING THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL BANKING

Francesc Relano
1
1 ICN Business School, Nancy, France

Abstract: The concept of social banking is often confused with other similar notions, such as alternative, civic, value-driven, ethical or sustainable banks. This ambiguous situation makes it very easy for a given financial institution to proclaim their social and environmental commitment. Quite often, however, there is an obvious gap between overstated intentions and real facts. Within this context, the aim of this paper is to draw a clear distinction between the concept of social banking and other related banking practices. In more precise terms, the paper will first explore the context allowing the emergence of social banking. Secondly, a concrete characterization of social banks will be proposed taking into account two complementary approaches: 1) a study of their specific underlying philosophy; 2) an analysis of their distinct banking practice.
Keywords: Concept, Social Banking, Ethical Banking, Paradigm

pdf MONETARY AND FISCAL (SPENDING) COMPLEMENTARITIES TO ATTAIN SOCIOECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

Masudul Alam Choudhury
1
1
Social Economy Centre, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada.
Abstract: The paper is a study of pervasively complementary relations between money, spending, and real economy with technological change. The endogenous interrelations between these variables sustain price stability and economic growth. The usual full-employment implications of inflation and neutrality of monetary and fiscal effects on the real output in the money, spending, and real economy model that is formalized are shown to change several of the consequences of the Keynesian and monetarist model of general macroeconomic equilibrium. Instead, a Schumpeterian growth model, and financial implications of Romer’s endogenous growth model stand out to be more appropriate. The conceptual model of the money, spending, and real economy endogenous relationship with technological change is rendered to empirical testing by the circular causation model, as in the case of Myrdal’s cumulative causation, but with financial implications. Malaysian data are used in the estimation of the system of circular causation equations.
Keywords: Fiscal Policy, Spending, Socioeconomic Sustainability

pdf MICROFINANCE AND INVESTMENT IN HUMAN AND SOCIAL CAPITAL

P.V. Viswanath1
1 Lubin School of Business, Pace University, USA
Abstract: Although microfinance has traditionally meant micro-credit, not all microfinance institutions (MFIs) restrict themselves to microcredit. One can make a distinction between minimalist MFIs that only provide microcredit, a second group that provides other kinds of financial services as well, a third group that provides capacity building and finally, a fourth group that provides social services and other development services. In this paper, we ask the question as to when a more expansive approach to microfinance might be justified and suggest that a market failure theory of financial exclusion can be used to answer this question. We then examine one particular south Indian MFI, Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF) and argue that while an associated focus on capacity development can be justified, ESAF’s expansion to the provision of broader social services such as health and social advocacy may not be more difficult to justify on purely economic grounds. We suggest that the analysis of ESAF could be used as a model, both to understand the choice of MFI missions, as well as to prescribe the right mission and goal for MFIs in different environments.
Keywords: MFI, Microfinance, Investments, Mission Driven, Impact

pdf CALCULATION OF SOCIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT (SROI) RATIO OF A LOCAL ECOLOGICAL INITIATIVE

Svetlana Boguslavskaya1 and Nadezhda Rozhdestvenskaya2
1 St.Petersburg School of Economics and Management, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia
2 Hertzen State Pedagogical University of Russia
Abstract: To create a reporting system that illustrates the social results of an ecological initiative and that this represents a substantial challenge, especially when it has an extremely small budget and is new. The study shows that it is, nevertheless, possible to develop such a system using Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology. The Russian ecological movement “Razdelniy sbor” (“Separate collection”) from the city of St. Petersburg has been used for the evaluative (retrospective) SROI case study. The study contains a quick overview of SROI methodology with links to relevant articles and guidelines. It touches on aspects of identifying stakeholders and building a theory of change. A system of indicators has been developed for the purpose of estimating social impact, while financial proxies for outcomes have been corrected for attribution and deadweight. The study may therefore be of interest from both the theoretical and practical standpoint. It can be used as an example for estimating the social value of a similar initiative, and additionally, addresses several important issues concerning SROI methodology. It argues for using the prudence concept in evaluating resources and outcomes, calls for detailed analysis of negative outcomes, emphasizes the importance of choosing appropriate discounting methods. Taking these steps prevents SROI ratio from being overestimated and ensures the transparency of SROI reports. The study also shows possible reasons for low SROI ratios (below 1) and proposes ways to increase social efficiency.
Keywords: SROI, Accounting, Indicator, Ecological Movement, Social Return on Investment

pdf FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY AND THE WELFARE STATE IN EUROPE

Zsófia Barta1

1
University at Albany, SUNY, USA

Abstract: The issue of fiscal sustainability has gained increasing attention in the past decades as many prosperous developed countries grapple with growing levels of explicit debt and implicit liabilities. However, there is a considerable gap between the theoretical concept of fiscal sustainability and the metrics that policyanalysts use in practice to gauge looming fiscal problems. The discrepancy has considerable impact on the policy recommendations that follow from different assessments of fiscal sustainability. This chapter contrasts the theoretical literature on fiscal sustainability with the practical applications of the concept by organizations like the IMF, the OECD and the European Commission to explore the implications of different assessments for policy. It shows that tests of fiscal sustainability applied by these three entities rest on partial equilibrium models that support a very conservative interpretation of fiscal sustainability, which is not inherent in the theoretical concept. Recommendations for austerity logically follow from this particular interpretation. The chapter also presents an alternative conception of sustainability, which seeks to combine fiscal, economic and social sustainability through appropriate social spending. It notes that the IMF, the OECD and the European Commission had embraced this alternative notion before, but it seems to be completely abandoned in the wake of the Global Financial and Economic Crisis.
Keywords: Fiscal Sustainability, Welfare State, Crisis, Policy