I am not surprised. Stephen is one of my best PhD students ever. At the moment he is a Postdoc here at Agder, but he will soon be looking for a new job. If you are hiring this is a unique opportunity. Check out Stephen’s profile here: https://www.uia.no/en/kk/profil/stephenz
If you want more information about Stephen and his talent don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
Best wishes, Roy Mersland Professor/Director PhD program Director Center for Research on Social Enterprises and Microfinance (CERSEM) School of Business and Law University of Agder https://cersem.uia.no/
you know of anyone interested in getting a PhD while researching Savings
Groups? We are searching for two highly motivated and talented candidates for
Please share widely the call below.
CALL FOR PhD APPLICATIONS
Are you interested in doing a PhD on
Savings Groups? Savings groups are bottom of the pyramid banking systems that
allow members access to basic savings and credit services by conducting
financial transactions among themselves. Around 20 persons are organized into a
group where they mobilize their own regular savings and distribute these as
loans to selected members as decided by the group. Several of the major
international NGOs are active in mobilizing savings groups as they have proven
to be efficient systems for simple banking services while at the same time they
serve as generators of social capital for the members. Typically groups are
trained, supervised and monitored for around one year and thereafter the groups
are graduated and left alone.
Research on savings groups is still in its
infancy. Particularly two areas need more research: 1) What happens with
savings groups after they graduate and are left on their own? And 2) What is
the situation for disabled persons participating in savings groups? We now
search for two PhD candidates to cover these two areas.
Option 1: What happens with savings groups
after they graduate? Do they survive? Do they expand? Do they change their
membership and/or their savings and borrowing conditions? Do they initiate
other operations? Do they become civil society organizations? To answer these
and many similar questions we are partnering with the Norwegian international
NGO Strømme Foundation who will sponsor the study together with the University
of Agder. With the help of our local partners in
West Africa, we will track graduated groups and find out whether they are still
operating, how they are performing and what activities they are currently
doing. We will also have the chance to compare performance data from the
initial year with current data. Further details need to be worked out. Thus,
your initial task is to develop a research proposal within this framework.
Considering existing literature on savings groups we would like you to answer
the following questions (plus other you find relevant) in your proposal: “What
type of research questions could be interesting” and “what type of data do you
suggest that we collect”? “How will you position the research in the
literature” and “what type of research methodology do you consider should be
applied”? These are questions we want you to address in the research proposal,
which is a mandatory part of the application documents (see below). Since
the research will take place in West Africa fluency in French is required.
Option 2: Disabled persons typically struggle in
being integrated in social networks, including savings groups. For several
years the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU) in partnership
with the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) have managed a successful
project called iSAVE. In this project disabled persons are mobilized in savings
groups. Today, iSAVE has around 50 thousand members whereof 30 thousand are
disabled. The model is that savings groups are mobilized, trained and
supervised for around one year. Thereafter the groups are graduated and left
alone, though they are still part of the “NUDIPU umbrella”. The aim of this
research project is to learn more about the effectiveness of iSAVE; whether
members find participating in the groups useful; whether the group members
experience improvement of life quality; and whether the iSAVE model is well
designed. Further details need to be made out. Thus,
your initial task is to make up a research proposal within this framework.
Considering existing literature on savings groups: “What kind of research
questions could be interesting” and “what kind of data do you suggest that we
collect”? “How will you position the research in the literature” and “what kind
of research methodology do you consider should be applied”? These are questions
we want you to address in the research proposal, which is a mandatory part of
application documents (see below). The research will take place in
Uganda and will be carried out in partnership with NUDIPU and NAD who is
sponsoring the project together with the University of Agder.
To carry out the research, we are searching for
two highly motivated and talented persons interested in doing a PhD in Norway.
All university costs will be waived and each candidate will receive a
scholarship of around EURO 1000,- per month to cover living costs. To qualify
for this PhD opportunity you need to have a master’s degree (5 years of
university (300 ECTS), including a master thesis) in a business school field.
Preferably the education should be from an internationally recognized
university. Further, you need to be fluent in English (plus French for option
1) and have advanced knowledge in Econometrics.
you possess these qualifications we would very much like to receive you
Educational certificates with grades and transcripts
summary of the master’s thesis (max one page)
minimum two letters with academic references
complete list of scientific publications (if you have published in peer-reviewed journals already)
up to three scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals in full text (this is not a requirement but only if you have published some articles already)
other important documentation like results from tests like GMAT/GRE/TOEFL etc. (if you possess such already)
motivation/application letter including whether you prefer option 1 or option 2 (max one page)
Research proposal for the selected option with a maximum length of five pages, plus the reference list. The outline should present and discuss possible research questions, the relevance of the research, theory perspectives, positioning in the literature, data you suggest to be collected and relevant methods you suggest to apply. It is expected that the method suggested should, if possible, go beyond traditional simple surveys and be of a type that at least to some degree takes endogeneity into account.
The School of Business and Law at the University of Agder is
a high-grade AACSB -accredited business school in Norway. Our PhD programme is
one of Europe’s leading programmes in the field of International Business. We
offer our candidates generous opportunities and equip them with a global
mindset and modern research skills. Our graduates find prestigious jobs within
and outside academia and they publish in high ranked international journals.
The programme includes around 50 candidates from across the globe working
closely with their highly motivated supervisors. The PhD process is designed to
take three years. We have one of Europe’s best track records when it comes to
finishing a PhD on time.
The selected candidates will become part of the CERSEM research
team – https://cersem.uia.no/
– which is one of Europe’s leading research centers in the field of
microfinance. In CERSEM you will be part of a team of around eight researchers
actively involved in research on savings groups. In addition, the CERSEM team
on savings groups works closely with a similar research group at KU Leuven
University in Belgium where you will stay during part of your PhD process.
application should be sent by the 31st of March. Thereafter we will carry out a
selection process. Start-up of the PhD is planned to be in September.
for Research on Social Enterprises and Microfinance (CERSEM)
article we ask: Do for-profit and not-for-profit organizations organize their
boards similarly or differently? Is there a “best practice” governance model
across ownership types? Empirically speaking, these are tricky questions to
study because generally for-profit and not-for-profit firms deliver different
types of services in different types of markets. The microfinance industry is
an exception. In this industry for-profit and not-for-profit actors operate
side by side delivering banking services to low income families to finance
their income generating activities. Using data from the microfinance industry
we find that compared to for-profit actors the not-for-profit actors have
larger boards, larger percentage of female directors and more frequent board
meetings. we further find that the not-for-profit organizations enhance their
performance when their boards are larger and meet more frequently. Equally
interesting, while having a larger fraction of female directors is beneficial
on average it significantly negatively affects the performance of
not-for-profit microfinance organizations. Taken together, the findings in this
paper send a strong message to observers, policy makers and not-for-profit
organizations: Such organizations should not copy the board structure of
regular firms but develop their own governance models fitting their needs in
accordance with their ownership type.
I hope you enjoy reading the article.
Center for Research on Social Enterprises and Microfinance (CERSEM)
Our friends at CERMi at Solvay in Brussels run an excellent master program in Microfinance. I am happy to teach a course at the program and recommend it warmly. See more information about the program below.
The two opportunities on Savings Groups are tied directly to
CERSEM. For these we offer a full waiver of university fees plus a scholarship
of around EURO 1000,- monthly to cover living costs. One position will focus on
“Inclusion of disabled members in savings groups” while the other will focus on
“survival of savings groups”. For this later position fluency in French is
required. You can read more about our research on Savings Groups here https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333238735_Global_Indicators_of_Savings_Groups
For all positions fluency in English, strong academic
qualifications and very strong knowledge in econometrics are required.
Interested candidates should get in touch directly with me.
for Research on Social Enterprises and Microfinance (CERSEM)
Since start-up in 1997 I have been involved in
the microfinance bank BANCO D-MIRO in Ecuador. Many stakeholders have assessed
our performance. Especially international lenders and rating agencies. What has
always annoyed me is that they have repeatedly told us that we should diversify
our geographical risk by entering more regions. I have fought against this
recommendation because I think it requires more coordination resources to
operate with larger geographical outspread. Moreover, I think geographical concentration
gives us improved market knowledge. This background has motivated me to carry
out this new research project together with my colleagues Stephen Zamore and
Leif Atle Beisland. In the paper we are the first to study the link between
geographic diversification and credit risk in microfinance. Who was right? I or
the rating agencies? Check out the paper!
(P.S. since we use a large global dataset it
could still be that the rating agencies are right in the case of Banco D-MIRO 😊)
for Research on Social Enterprises and Microfinance (CERSEM)
Into what type of developing
countries do social enterprises expand when going international? Do they select
markets where they have a better chance of achieving social returns or do they
expand into countries offering better chances of financial returns?
In a new paper we examine how
host countries’ macroeconomic conditions influence international market
selection of European and American impact investing organizations.
Mersland, R., Nyarko, S., & Sirisena, A. (Forthcoming), “A Hybrid Approach to International Market Selection: The Case of Impact Investing Organizations”, International Business Review.
Do you know what savings groups are, how they are structured, how they perform and where they flourish? In fact, saving groups are one of the World’s largest banking systems. Here at CERSEM, we find savings groups fascinating and have therefore initiated a large new project where we will research what drives the performance of these groups. The project is sponsored by FAHU foundation and we have gotten access to the SAVIX database covering 250 thousand groups worldwide. Our first output is a descriptive report on the content in the SAVIX database. Read the report and learn about savings groups.
Europe’s largest microfinance newsletter – The Microfinance Platform – has a long article reviewing our paper on Mission Statements in Microfinance. You can read the article here: https://lnkd.in/gHnBEiN The full article can be requested here: https://lnkd.in/gRcK8n2
In our most recent paper accepted for publication in Journal
of World Business we study whether knowledge of a world language like English,
Spanish and French have an influence on the performance of Microfinance
Institutions (MFIs). And indeed it has. After controlling for country effects
etc. we find that MFIs operating in English/Spanish/French-speaking countries
have higher performance than MFIs operating in other markets. Moreover, we find
that language also has an effect on partnerships between MFIs and international
partners in Europe and North America. A closer language relationship between
the international partner and the MFI has a positive effect on the MFI’s
performance. We think our study is of relevance also outside the microfinance
context. You can download and read the full study here: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Ypmi3u3RtdUg6