In the Hands of God

Herat: Restaurant Guard

Download the research report: In the Hands of God: A Study of Risk & Savings in Afghanistan co-authored with Cara Silver, Mark Rolston and Joshua Blumenstock.

The study explored the strategies adopted by salaried Afghans for mitigating financial (or more accurately asset) risk, the role played by extended families in levelling out drops in income, and reflects upon what this means for more formal financial services and the future of Afghanistan.

We also wrote up some thoughts on running research in higher risk environments, strategies for mitigating risk, and coping with extreme gender dynamics.

Three snippets from the research

  1. We details the risk aversion strategies that individuals/families use, in particular richly intertwined financial lives
  2. A geo-political angle: to get a sense of Afghan confidence in the country post-US troop pullout we looked at where people’s informal savings are are flowing i.e. its not invested in local business.
  3. The going rate to facilitate the kidnap of a foreign researcher is $200k. (Which is why we work hard on building local trust, this time our investment paid off)