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Enter the Matrix: Data science and financial services for the poor

Rolando Manuel Gonzales Martinez of the School of Business and Law at the University of Agder has submitted her his thesis entitled “Data-driven & Theory-driven Science: Artificial Realities and Applications to Savings Groups” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Monday 1 March 2021. (Photo: Private)

The simulations show that businesses started by members of savings groups can have higher profits compared to business started with loans from micro-finance institutions, due to the social capital created between members of savings groups.

Rolando Manuel Gonzales Martinez

PhD Candidate

The disputation will be held digitally, because of the Corona covid-19-situation. Spectators may follow the disputation digitally – link is available below.

 

Rolando Manuel Gonzales Martinez of the School of Business and Law at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled “Data-driven & Theory-driven Science: Artificial Realities and Applications to Savings Groups” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Monday 1 March 2021. 

He has followed the PhD-programme at theSchool of Business and Law at the University of Agder, with spesialisation in International Business.

Scholarship for the PhD-research is provided by the FAHU foundation (Denmark).

Summary of the thesis by Rolando Martinez:

Enter the Matrix: Data science and financial services for the poor

Data science is applied in diverse scientific disciplines and across industries.

Netflix applies data science to predict the preferences of viewers, while the CERN applies data science to understand the data generated by the large Hadron Collider.

Data applied to savings groups

In the dissertation, data science is applied to the information of the financial services in savings groups.

Savings groups are financial associations created to provide members with informal savings, loans, and insurance.

The findings of the dissertation indicate that the macro-economic environment and the facilitation model of non-governmental agencies (NGOs) working with savings groups are more important than the internal organization of the groups.

Social capital is important

As in the movie “The Matrix”, the dissertation uses complex algorithms to simulate artificial people operating savings groups in thousands of artificial villages.

The simulations show that businesses started by members of savings groups can have higher profits compared to business started with loans from micro-finance institutions, due to the social capital created between members of savings groups.

Disputation facts

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place online, via the Zoom conferencing app (link below)

Dean Kristin Wallevik, School of Business and Law, UiA, will chair the disputation.

The trial lecture at 17:00 hours

Public defence at 18:00 hours

Given topic for trial lecture"Econometric methods for financial studies at the bottom of the pyramide"

Thesis TitleData-driven & Theory-driven Science: Artificial Realities and Applications to Savings Groups

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here::

https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2727383

(Two articles are left out until they are published. Contact the School og Business and Law for a complete thesis, see left column.)

The CandidateRolando Manuel Gonzales Martinez (1981, Bolivia) Bachelorgrad fra: Del Valle University (Bolivia), MSc. in Applied Statistics, University of Alcala (Spain).

Previous employment: Consultant for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP). Present position: Post-doc researcher at CASUS-HZDR (Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany): Data scientist in the SARS-CoV-2 where2test project. Also: Consultant for the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI, Oxford University). Part-time Deputy Manager in the Risk Division of BCP Bank (CrediCorp) and Researcher at the School of Business and Law at the University of Agder.

Opponents:

First opponent: Assistant Professor Rosanne Vanpée, (PhD), KU Leuven, Belgia

Second opponent: Associate Professor Alfredo Burlando, University of Oregon, USA

Professor emeritus Lars Oxelheim, School of Business and Law, University of Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Professor Roy Mersland (main supervisor) and Associate Professor Bert D’Espallier (PhD) KU Leuven (co-supervisor)

What to do as an audience member:

The disputation is open to the public, but to follow the trial lecture and the public defence, which is transmitted via the Zoom conferencing app, you have to register as an audience member:

https://uiano.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5YrdO-rqz0tEtS1C3_jDRgyF3OLTOrKH68U 

A Zoom-link will be returned to you.

(Here are introductions for how to use Zoom: support.zoom.us if you cannot join by clicking on the link.)

We ask audience members to join the virtual trial lecture at 16:55 at the earliest and the public defense at 17:55 at the earliest. After these times, you can leave and rejoin the meeting at any time. Further, we ask audience members to turn off their microphone and camera and keep them turned off throughout the event. You do this at the bottom left of the image when in Zoom. We recommend you use ‘Speaker view’. You select that at the top right corner of the video window when in Zoom.

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. It is a prerequisite that the opponent has read the thesis. Questions can be submitted to the chair Kristin Wallevik at e-mail kristin.wallevik@uia.no