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The increasing digitization of the global economy is changing how products and services are produced, distributed, and sold all around the world. Digital payment instruments such as debit cards, credit cards, and mobile money have gained widespread popularity, and several governments have launched official programs to promote digital payments. In new research, Sumit Agarwal and co-authors study whether and how households’ adoption of digital payments affects their spending decisions, using the differential switch to digital payments across consumers induced by the sudden 2016 Indian Demonetization for identification. They find usage of digital payments rose and monthly spending increased prior to cash dependence, and that spending remained elevated even when cash availability recovered. In the next webinar, Agarwal will be joined by Filippo Mezzanotti for a detailed discussion of their findings and implications.

About the Seminar Series

Financial market development goes hand-in-hand with economic growth. The development of China’s capital markets in terms of size, regulations, capability, and efficiency has been impressive. China may now even lead globally in some dimensions, notably e-payments systems. Yet, China’s capital markets are still a work-in-progress facing both generic and unique challenges. Other Asian capital markets have even greater uneven development. Some in advanced Asian economies have acquired globally acclaimed reputation and capabilities while various regulatory and structural weaknesses dwarf others. Corporations and investors have been inclined to arbitrage cross-border regulatory and developmental gaps; so the very uneven status of capital markets across Asia is a policy issue for the governments in the entire region and perhaps globally. Analyzing the positive and negative lessons in the functioning of Asia’s capital markets, and identifying reforms and applications of technology that could further improve Asian capital markets’ allocation efficiency, financial inclusion, and forewarning against reforms that might cause problems can benefit practitioners, policymakers and researchers, and can contribute significantly to overall prosperity.

The ABFER and the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute China (BFI-China), in collaboration with National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Department of Economics, CUHK-Shenzhen and Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance (Tsinghua PBCSF), hope to provide a virtual network to benefit researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from Asia and beyond.

All times are listed in Central Standard Time. A unique Zoom webinar link will be sent to you two days before the event. 

Session Format

Each session lasts for an hour (30 minutes for the author, 15 minutes for the discussion, 15 minutes for participants’ Q&A).


Wednesday, June 30, 2021
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Sumit Agarwal, National University of Singapore

Filippo Mezzanotti (Discussant), Northwestern University