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Access to Financial Services: Measurement, Impact, and Policies

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  • Thorsten Beck
  • Asli Demirgüç-Kunt
  • Patrick Honohan

Abstract

In many developing countries less than half the population has access to formal financial services, and in most of Africa less than one in five households has access. Lack of access to finance is often the critical mechanism for generating persistent income inequality, as well as slower economic growth. Hence expanding access remains an important challenge across the world, leaving much for governments to do. However, not all government actions are equally effective and some policies can even be counterproductive. This paper sets out principles for effective government policy on broadening access, drawing on the available evidence and illustrating with examples. The paper concludes with directions for future research. Copyright The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 24 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 119-145

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:24:y:2009:i:1:p:119-145

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Cited by:
  1. Musamali, M. Martin & Daniel Kipkirong Tarus, 2013. "Does Firm Profile Influence Financial Access among Small and Medium Enterprises in Kenya?," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(6), pages 714-723, June.
  2. Keijiro Otsuka & Tetsushi Sonobe, 2011. "A Cluster-Based Industrial Development Policy for Low-Income Countries," GRIPS Discussion Papers 11-09, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  3. Holzmann, Robert, 2010. "Bringing financial literacy and education to low and middle income countries : the need to review, adjust, and extend current wisdom," Social Protection Discussion Papers 56501, The World Bank.
  4. Kosse, Anneke & Vermeulen, Robert, 2014. "Migrants’ Choice of Remittance Channel: Do General Payment Habits Play a Role?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 213-227.
  5. de Koker, Louis & Jentzsch, Nicola, 2013. "Financial Inclusion and Financial Integrity: Aligned Incentives?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 267-280.
  6. James Barth & Dongyun Lin & Keven Yost, 2011. "Small and Medium Enterprise Financing in Transition Economies," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(1), pages 19-38, March.
  7. World Bank, 2010. "Scaling-Up SME Access to Financial Services," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12515, The World Bank.
  8. Michael King, 2012. "Assistant Professor," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp399, IIIS.
  9. Giorgio Gomel & Fabio Bernasconi & Margherita Laura Cartechini & Veronica Fucile & Riccardo Settimo & Roberto Staiano, 2011. "Financial inclusion - G20 initiatives and the role of the Bank of Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 96, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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