FIT IN Initiative

About

FIT IN Initiative 

Financial Inclusion Through INteroperability

In November 2020, the Toulouse School of Economics launched the FIT IN Initiative to catalyze new research to constructively influence the design and regulation of interoperable digital financial services systems in low- and middle-income countries.

The main objective of this four-year research initiative is to better understand the implications of alternative competition and regulatory policies and ultimately inform policies to expand the scope, improve the quality and reduce the cost of digital payment systems for impoverished users.

The FIT IN Initiative receives support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program.

Research topics

Topics of competition, incentives, regulation, governance, technology adoption, and welfare impacts related to features of and choices in designing interoperable payment systems will be central to the research agenda of the initiative. 

Examples of questions that researchers will investigate:

  • Incentives: how to strike a balance between competition and cooperation?
  • Governance: how key assets should be managed?
  • Welfare: what is the impact of interoperable systems on market participants?

Research approach

The initiative will involve a combination of descriptive, theoretical, and empirical research, drawing on expertise from literatures on industrial organization, digital finance, technology adoption, development economics, mechanism design, and public policy.

The FIT IN Initiative will be developed at the crossroads between the TSE Digital Center, the TSE Sustainable Finance Center and the TSE Infrastructure & Network Center.

In-house and external contributors

Stakeholders of the initiative on TSE's side may include faculty, post-docs, and graduate students.

The initiative will also leverage contributions of external contributors with:

  • the creation of a formal academic and policy affiliate network,
  • the launch of a request for research proposals.

Outputs and outreach

Program outputs will include a guiding white paper surveying the prior literature in interoperability and defining key open research and policy questions, a series of working papers and academic publications that will be summarized in outreach materials designed to inform policymakers.

Key events organized in the framework of the initiative will include workshops, webinars and conferences for academics or for a wider audience. The initiative aims to facilitate connections between researchers, policymakers, regulators, commercial providers and practitioners.

Advisory board

List of permanent members:

  • Milo Bianchi - Head of operations for the program, TSE
  • Emmanuelle Auriol - Scientific Head of the program, TSE
  • Sébastien Pouget - Director of TSE-Partnership, TSE

Other member with a consultative voice:

  • Seth Garz - Program Officer for Research in Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation