Aparajita Agarwal

Aparajita Agarwal
  • Doctoral Candidate

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2048 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links: CV


  • Aparajita Agarwal and Valentina Assenova (2023), Mobile Money as a Stepping Stone to Financial Inclusion: How Digital Multisided Platforms Fill Institutional Voids, Organization Science. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2022.16562

    Abstract: The literature on institutional voids examines how intermediaries, such as business groups and business incubators, address such voids in emerging economies. However, it remains unclear whether and how digital multisided platforms fill these voids given their unique features. This study focuses on mobile money platforms, which allow users without bank accounts or credit cards to perform financial transactions. We propose that these platforms !ll institutional voids in three ways by (i) enabling data-based certification, (ii) providing unified access to distributed services, and (iii) scaling through network effects to reach previously excluded market participants. We argue that these novel mechanisms enable mobile money platforms to expand credit access to end users from formal financial institutions and thereby act as stepping stones to financial inclusion. Our analysis is based on a difference-in-difference design that leverages regulatory changes that allowed nonbanks to operate as mobile money operators and data from a representative random sample of 151,771 individuals in 78 countries. We supplement our quantitative analysis with rich, hand-collected qualitative evidence to illustrate the mechanisms underlying our findings.

  • Valentina Assenova and Aparajita Agarwal, Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Africa. In The Handbook of Sociology of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, edited by Olav Sorenson and Patricia H. Thornton, (De Gruyter, 2023)

    Abstract: Entrepreneurship and innovation are pivotal for Africa’s economic progress. However, the continent faces a dearth of investment, with the existing venture capital (VC) majorly channeled towards fintech, sidelining other sectors. Despite the growing VC interest, African entrepreneurs grapple with barriers such as high startup costs, restrictive capital requirements, limited access to financing, regulatory issues, and concerns about bribery of government officials and low trust in governance. Institutional hindrances, the prevalence of informal businesses, management quality issues, and concentrated firm ownership further exacerbate the innovation deficit. Conversely, Africa shows promise with expanding VC investments, budding fintech sectors that can bolster financial inclusion, such as mobile-money platforms, and a surge in female entrepreneurship. Moreover, the continent is becoming a center for financial technology innovations and boasts a rising presence of startup accelerators and incubators, which offer pivotal support to early-stage ventures. This chapter offers a comprehensive look at these facets, intertwining entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa, addressing challenges, and highlighting opportunities and policy-related questions for future exploration.

    Description: Forthcoming in the De Gruyter Handbook of Sociology of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Olav Sorenson and Patricia H. Thornton, Editors


All Courses

  • MGMT1010 - Intro To Management

    We all spend much of our lives in organizations. Most of us are born in organizations, educated in organizations, and work in organizations. Organizations emerge because individuals can't (or don't want to) accomplish their goals alone. Management is the art and science of helping individuals achieve their goals together. Managers in an organization determine where their organization is going and how it gets there. More formally, managers formulate strategies and implement those strategies. This course provides a framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in formulating and implementing strategies by taking a "system" view of organizations,which means that we examine multiple aspects of how managers address their environments, strategy, structure, culture, tasks, people, and outputs, and how managerial decisions made in these various domains interrelate. The course will help you to understand and analyze how managers can formulate and implement strategies effectively. It will be particularly valuable if you are interested in management consulting, investment analysis, or entrepreneurship - but it will help you to better understand and be a more effective contributor to any organizations you join, whether they are large, established firms or startups. This course must be taken for a grade.

Awards and Honors

  • Goldberg Barclay Fellow in Entrepreneurship, 2021