Professor Ana Marr BSc, MSc, PhD

Professor of International Development Economics

Key details

Ana Marr

Professor Ana Marr

Professor of International Development Economics


Professor Ana Marr is Professor of International Development Economics, conducting research on the interaction between finance, development and poverty reduction. She joined the University of Greenwich in 2002 and presently works for the Business School and for the Natural Resources Institute. Prior to this, she held research positions at the London School of Economics, the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and the Overseas Development Institute in London.

Professor Marr is currently Principal Investigator of a major three-year research project on optimal packaging of finance for smallholders, jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), leading a large international team of researchers from Europe and Africa. Previously, Professor Marr has been Principal Investigator of numerous large-scale research projects, including a four-year project on the dual goals of microfinance funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2009-12), a three-year ESRC-funded project on microfinance and poverty reduction (2000-2), and a three-year DFID-funded project on financial markets for the poor (1997-9). She has also been the Director of the International Microfinance Research Group since 2007.

Her research has helped advance knowledge particularly in the quest for effective financial services and mechanisms that can contribute towards reducing poverty in developing countries. The range of Professor Marr's research has been applied in a variety of contexts, including urban micro-enterprises, fisheries communities, agricultural smallholder farmers and larger multinational organisations. The value of her research has become evident in a large number of peer-reviewed publications, conference papers and workshop presentations, which have produced positive impact on academia, practice and policy-making, and have guided the industry towards effective ways to combine finance with other inputs.

Professor Marr's extensive international research experience includes field research in Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Thailand), Africa (Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Latin America (Bolivia, Colombia and Peru). Funding for her research has been competitively obtained from DFID, ESRC, World Bank, the German Aid Agency (GIZ), European Union (EU), CARE-International, NEPAD and Farm-Africa, among others.

Professor Marr is a Fellow Member of the ESRC Peer Review College and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Iberoamerican Journal of Development Studies, and of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Economics. She also acts as reviewer for the international journals World Development, Journal of Development Studies and Journal of International Development and publishes extensively on related research issues.

She holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London and an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics – both supported by full scholarships, awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council and by the London School of Economics, respectively.

Research and Scholarship interests

Professor Marr's areas of research include: Microfinance, financial market development, wholesale finance, pro-poor credit, rural finance for smallholder farmers, poverty reduction, business development services, social capital, development economics, financial services for enterprise development, entrepreneurship, finance for SMEs and small businesses, private capital flows, foreign direct investment, international trade and financial institutions' conditionality.

During the past 20 years, Professor Marr has advanced knowledge particularly in the quest for effective financial services that can help reduce poverty in developing countries. Her approach is to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods and work in collaboration with international partners in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. In this manner, her research has been influential at the academic, practice and policy-making levels. The value of her research work lies in identifying possible balance between the power of microfinance in achieving financial sustainability while trying to help reduce poverty, and how this can be done via effective partnerships. This has led her to enter into new research areas. Thus, Professor Marr is now investigating optimal packaging of financial services that can be designed and tested in order to help increase agricultural productivity in developing countries. This promises to be a groundbreaking piece of research and it is being funded by ESRC-DFID.

Responsibilities within the university

  • Member of the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC)
  • Professor of International Development Economics
  • Director, International Microfinance Research Group
  • Principal Lecturer of post-graduate courses of MAIB and MSc BFE programmes
  • Principal Economist at the Natural Resources Institute
  • Course Director of Certified Master's course Microfinance and Financial Inclusion
  • Course Director of MAIB MScBFE course Microfinance in International Development
  • Principal Investigator of various research projects funded by ESRC, DFID, Leverhulme Trust, EU, NEPAD, World Bank, among others
  • First supervisor of six PhD students, including three completions.

First Supervisor of PhD students

Completions

  • Miriam Matzanke (2010-2013)
  • Cornell Jackson (2009-2012)
  • Ganka Nyamsogoro (2007-2010)

Current

  • Marius Meijerink
  • Thomas Omachi
  • Catherine Otene
  • Rosemary Gumba

Awards

  • ESRC-DFID award for the research project Optimal Packaging of Credit and Insurance for Smallholder Farmers in Africa. Grant reference number: ES/L012235/1. (2014-2017)
  • Visiting Professor, Catholic University of Peru
  • Leverhulme Trust award for the research project Optimising the Dual Goals of Microfinance. Grant reference: F/00 345/D (2009-2013)
  • FARM-Africa - Mid-term and Final Term Evaluations of Northern Cape Land Reform & Advisory Programme in South Africa (2006 & 2008)
  • DFID - UK Department for International Development grant for the research Innovative Financial Mechanisms for Improving the Livelihoods of Rural Afghans currently economically dependent on opium poppy (2004-2007)
  • DFID - UK Department for International Development - Potential Mechanisms for Increasing the Contribution of the Private Sector to Agriculture Research, Development and Technology Transfer in Bolivia (2003)
  • ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council scholarship award for the research Studying Group Dynamics: An Analysis of Microfinance Impacts on Poverty Reduction (1999-2002)
  • DFID - UK Department for International Development grant for the research How Can Finance Work for the Poor? (1997-1999)
  • Bank of England award for the research How Can Finance Work for the Poor? (1998-1999)
  • HEIF grant: Impact of insurance in Kenya (2014)
  • HEIF-BUS-002/11 grant EE4E: Entrepreneurial Employment for Europe (2011-2012)
  • HEIF-NRI grant - Participatory research in innovative investment mechanisms for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Africa (2010-2011)
  • RAE-BUS-008/10 - Measuring the Impact of Microfinance on Small Enterprises: An Environmental Analysis and Randomised Controlled Trials Approach (2010)
  • Small grant award - Financial Inclusion and Ethics (2010)
  • Greenwich Research and Enterprise Award - Proposal: Optimising the dual goals of microfinance (2007-2008)
  • London School of Economics, Scholarship award for the undertaking of MSc in Economics at LSE, (1987-1988)

Recognition

  • Fellow Member of the ESRC Peer Review College.
  • Reviewer of journal papers for World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of International Development.
  • Editorial Board Member for the journal, Economics.
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Iberoamerican Journal of Development Studies
  • External examiner of MSc Development Finance Programme at University of Reading
  • External examiner of PhD students' theses at University of Manchester and University of Bath.
  • Member of UK Development Studies Association
  • Member of UK Microfinance Club
  • Member of University Meets Microfinance
  • Member of Social Performance Task Force
  • Member of Development Finance Network

Research / Scholarly interests

Dr Marr's areas of research include:

  • Microfinance
  • Financial market development
  • Wholesale finance
  • Pro-poor credit
  • Poverty reduction
  • Business development services
  • Social capital
  • Development economics
  • Financial services for enterprise development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance for SMEs and small businesses
  • Private capital flows
  • Foreign direct investment
  • International trade
  • Financial institutions' conditionality.

During the past 20 years, Professor Marr has advanced knowledge particularly in the quest for effective financial services that can help reduce poverty in developing countries. Her approach is to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods and work in collaboration with international partners in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. In this manner, her research has been influential at the academic, practice and policy-making levels.

The value of her research work lies in identifying possible balance between the power of microfinance in achieving financial sustainability while trying to help reduce poverty, and how this can be done via effective partnerships. This has led her to enter into new research areas. Thus, Professor Marr is now investigating optimal packaging of financial services that can be designed and tested in order to help increase agricultural productivity in developing countries. This promises to be a ground-breaking piece of research and it is being funded by ESRC-DFID

Key funded projects

Optimal Packaging of Credit and Insurance for Smallholder Farmers in Africa. Principal Investigator, 2014-2017, funded by ESRC-DFID, £745,778

Research jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID); grant awarded under open international competition. Grant Reference Number: ES/L012235/1. The research is innovative in its approach to studying the interactions between microfinance, insurance and inputs markets, and aims at overcoming the constraints of market imperfections by identifying optimal packages of financial services that can lead to greater agricultural productivity amongst the most deprived farmers in Africa.

Optimising the Dual Goals of Microfinance. Principal Investigator, 2009-2013, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, @£220,000

Award won under open external competition. Grant Reference Number: F/00 345/D. The research investigates how collaboration in microfinance can be improved in order to achieve the dual goals of poverty reduction and financial sustainability. Extensive fieldwork was conducted in India, Peru and Tanzania. This research was highly influential in the area of microfinance, guiding the industry into effective ways to combine financial services and enter into partnerships.

Robust Coffee Development Project. Senior Financial Specialist, 2013-2015, funded by EU, £1,182,051

The project investigates alternative ways to improve coffee production in Sierra Leone. This includes scientific research as well as financial and business capacity building of farmers associations. The research is needed to help poor farmers in Sierra Leone to regenerate coffee production and lift them out of poverty.

Innovative financial mechanisms for improving the livelihoods of rural Afghans currently economically dependent on opium poppy. Principal Investigator, 2004-2007, funded by DFID, £204,030

The project is part of DFID's Research in Alternative Livelihoods Fund (RALF), a component of its assistance programme to Afghanistan. The purpose of RALF is to develop and promote alternative livelihood options for rural Afghans dependent on poppy production and contribute to the overall goal of sustainable elimination of opium poppy production in Afghanistan. The objective of this research project is to develop practical alternatives to the opium-related credit system by investigating and developing financial mechanisms that enable rural Afghans dependent on opium poppy production and sharecropping to adopt alternative livelihood generating activities.

Establishing Fisheries and Aquaculture Investment Partnership. Senior Economist, 2010-2012, funded by NEPAD, £243,816

Action-research project aiming at establishing an investment fund for the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Africa. Partnerships between various stakeholders are necessary to create synergies and investment in the fisheries sector in order to achieve sustainable economic development.

Potential Mechanisms for Increasing the Contribution of the Private Sector to Agricultural Research, Development and Technology Transfer in Bolivia. Principal Investigator, 2003, funded by DFID, £37,125

The project assessed the technical, economic, financial and operational feasibility of various alternative mechanisms to involve the private sector in the development of agricultural processes, including: co-financing schemes; voluntary and compulsory taxation; intellectual property rights; strategies to reduce transaction costs; transmission and management of information; and legal and regulatory reforms.

Final evaluation of the Northern Cape Land Reform & Advocacy Programme in South Africa. Principal Investigator, 2008, funded by FARM-Africa, £10,843

Research included design and implementation of project evaluation, which was influential in decisions to continue with this programme helping black communities in South Africa.

Mid-term evaluation of the Northern Cape Land Reform & Advocacy Programme in South Africa .Principal Investigator, 2006, £8,355

Research included fieldwork in South Africa, collection of original data, organisation of focus-group discussions, analysis and reporting of results. The good performance of this evaluation led to a renewal of contract to undertake the final evaluation of this programme.

Poverty-orientated research on Rural Economic & Enterprise Development (REED). Senior Financial Specialist, 2004-2006, funded by DFID, £99,950

This project focuses on new pro-poor economic and enterprise development mechanisms for public policy and interventions to enhance poverty outcomes in developing countries. The model and good practice generated guided the development community and national institutions in their support to pro-poor economic and enterprise development. The application of the REED framework provided guidance on pro-poor public policy and institutional support at local and national government levels specifically in South Africa and Bangladesh.

Eastern/Southern Africa warehouse receipts project. Senior Economist, 2004-2006, £737,960.

Main activities performed during this project include: (1) Development of a system of commodity trade finance based on inventory collateralisation and warehouse receipts; and testing the system through pilot trade financing; (2) Assisting the PEA in making (i) a basic market information system, and (ii) a quality assurance and certification system, which are already developed in the projects, self-sustainable. The project also covered additional suitable commodities for pilot testing purposes, e.g. cotton and coffee.

Financial services for Badakhshan, Afghanistan. Principal Investigator, 2004, funded by GTZ, £9,339

The purpose of the research was to assess the current financial service provision in the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan. This is an integral part of a larger project that aims at analysing the suitability of a range of innovative financial mechanisms to improve farmers' livelihoods in Northern Afghanistan.

Impact Assessment of the Family Savings Programme (FSP) CARE-Bangladesh. Principal Investigator, 2004, funded by CARE, £18,060

Study into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of this innovative microfinance programme being implemented by CARE-Bangladesh. The specific aims of this project have been: to assess the household livelihood changes of client of the microfinance programme; client profile changes; clients' perceptions regarding the services being provided to them under the FSP product; and the sustainability of potential replicability of the programme. Fieldwork in the slums of Dhaka, included in-depth interviews with some of the poorest segments of the population, clients of the FSP programme, officials of the implementing NGOs, and key informants. Qualitative and quantitative analysis and useful practical recommendations were advanced.

How Can Finance Work for the Poor. Principal Investigator, 1997-1999, funded by DFID, £100,000

Research on the power of microfinance in breaking market imperfections and increasing access to finance by the poor. Country cases included Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Thailand and Peru. Extensive empirical research carried out on more than a hundred microfinance institutions in developing countries.

How Can Finance Work for the Poor. Principal Investigator, 1998-1999, funded by the Bank of England, £25,000

Funding for additional research in relation to the DFID-funded research project How Can Finance Work for the Poor.

Recent publications

Article

Shee, Apurba , Turvey, Calum G., Marr, Ana (2020), Heterogeneous demand and supply for an insurance-linked credit product in Kenya: A stated choice experiment approach. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Journal of Agricultural Economics, 72 (1) . pp. 244-267 ISSN: 0021-857X (Print), 1477-9552 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12401).

Turvey, Calum G. , Shee, Apurba, Marr, Ana (2019), Addressing fractional dimensionality in the application of weather index insurance and climate risk financing in agricultural development: A dynamic triggering approach. American Meteorological Society. In: , , , . American Meteorological Society, Weather, Climate, and Society, 11 (4) . pp. 901-915 ISSN: 1948-8327 (Print), 1948-8335 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-19-0014.1) NB Item availability restricted.

Bulte, Erwin , Cecchi, Francesco, Lensink, Robert, Marr, Ana , Van Asseldonk, Marcel (2019), Does bundling crop insurance with certified seeds crowd-in investments? Experimental evidence from Kenya. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 180 . pp. 744-757 ISSN: 0167-2681 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.07.006) NB Item availability restricted.

Marr, Ana , Belissa, Temesgen, Lensink, Robert (2019), Uptake and impact of interlinked index-based insurance with credit and agricultural inputs: experimental evidence from Ethiopia. American Economic Association. In: , , , . American Economic Association, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics ISSN: 1945-7782 (Print), 1945-7790 (Online) (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Schmied, Julian and , Marr, Ana (2017), Financial inclusion and poverty: The case of Peru. Euro-American Association of Economic Development Studies. In: , , , . Euro-American Association of Economic Development Studies, Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, 16 (2) . pp. 1-26 ISSN: 1578-4460 (Print), (doi: https://ideas.repec.org/a/eaa/eerese/v16y2016i2_3.html) NB Item availability restricted.

Elum, Zelda A. , Modise, David M., Marr, Ana (2016), Farmer’s perception of climate change and responsive strategies in three selected provinces of South Africa. Climate Risk Management. In: , , , . Climate Risk Management, Climate Risk Management, 16: CRM91 . pp. 246-257 ISSN: 2212-0963 (Print), 2212-0963 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crm.2016.11.001) NB Item availability restricted.

Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa and , Marr, Ana (2016), Sustainability and outreach: a comparative study of MFIs in South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. In: , , , . John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Bulletin of Economic Research, 68 (5) . pp. 1-23 ISSN: 1467-8586 (Print), 1467-8586 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/boer.12100) NB Item availability restricted.

Marr, Ana , Winkel, Anne, van Asseldonk, Marcel, Lensink, Robert , Bulte, Erwin (2016), Adoption and impact of index-insurance and credit for smallholder farmers in developing countries: A systematic review. Emerald. In: , , , . Emerald, Agricultural Finance Review, 76 (1) . pp. 94-118 ISSN: 0002-1466 (Print), (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/AFR-11-2015-0050) NB Item availability restricted.

Marr, Ana , Leon, Janina, Ponce, Fatima (2014), Financial inclusion of the poor in Peru: Explanatory factors and determinant. Euro-American Association of Economic Development Studies. In: , , , . Euro-American Association of Economic Development Studies, Applied Econometrics and International Development, 14 (1) . pp. 101-130 ISSN: 1578-4487 (Print), (doi: http://www.usc.es/economet/journals1/aeid/aeid1418.pdf).

Marr, Ana and , Tubaro, Paola (2013), The microfinance wholesale lending market: A comparative study of India, Peru and Tanzania. Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.. In: , , , . Inderscience Enterprises Ltd., International Journal of Economics and Business Research, 5 (1) . pp. 33-54 ISSN: 1756-9850 (Print), 1756-9869 (Online) (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJEBR.2013.050641).

Book section

Marr, Ana and , (2015), Tensions between financial and organisational sustainability: The problematic case of group-based microfinance and possible ways forward. Cambridge University Press. In: , , In: Tom Sorell, Luis Cabrera (eds.), Microfinance, Rights and Global Justic. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK . pp. 145-162 . ISBN: 9781107110977 (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Jackson, Cornell and , Marr, Ana (2013), The strength of weak ties in microfinance. Globe Business Publishing Ltd.. In: , , In: Ranajoy Basu (ed.), Microfinance: A Practitioner's Handboo. Globe Business Publishing Ltd., London, UK . pp. 193-205 . ISBN: 9781905783977 (doi: ).

Conference item

Marr, Ana , van Asseldonk, Marcel, Burger, Kees, Lensink, Robert , Bulte, Erwin (2015), Optimal Packages: A review of impact assessment approaches of bundled insurance, credit and inputs. In: The 4th International Agricultural Risk, Finance and Insurance Conference (IARFIC), 7-9 Jun 2015, Washington DC, USA , . , (doi: ).

Marr, Ana and , Schmied, Julian (2013), Financial inclusion and poverty: The case of Peru. In: 3rd European Research Conference on Microfinance, 10-12 Jun 2013, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway , . , (doi: ).

Marr, Ana and , Schmied, Julian (2013), Financial inclusion in Peru. In: 9th University Meets Microfinance Workshop: Financial Inclusion and Microfinance in Latin America, 30-31 May 2013, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain , . , . pp. 30 (doi: http://www.e-mfp.eu/sites/default/files/resources/2014/06/UMM_Workshop-report_Salamanca_2013_web.pdf).