Access to financial services: a review of the issues and public policy objectives
AbstractThis paper reviews the evidence on the importance of finance for economic well-being, provides data on the degree of use of basic financial services by households and firms across a sample of countries, assesses the desirability of more universal access, and overviews the macroeconomic, legal, and regulatory obstacles to access using general evidence and case studies. Although access to finance can be very beneficial, the data show that universal use is far from prevalent in many countries, especially developing countries. At the same time, universal access has generally not been a public policy objective and is surely not easily achievable in most countries. Countries can, however, undertake many actions to facilitate access to financial services, including through strengthening their institutional infrastructures, liberalizing and opening up their markets and facilitating greater competition, and encouraging innovative use of know-how and technology. Government attempts and interventions to directly broaden the provision of access to finance, however, are fraught with risks and costs, among others, the risk of missing the targeted groups. The author concludes with possible global actions aimed at improving data on access and use, and areas for further analysis to help identify the constraints to broadening access.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3589.
Date of creation: 01 May 2005
Date of revision:
Banks&Banking Reform; Governance Indicators; Financial Intermediation; Poverty Assessment; Health Economics&Finance;
Other versions of this item:
- Claessens, Stijn, 2006. "Access to financial services: a review of the issues and public policy objectives," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 17, pages 16-19.
- Stijn Claessens, 2006. "Access to Financial Services: A Review of the Issues and Public Policy Objectives," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 207-240.
- G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, 2004.
"SMEs, Growth, and Poverty,"
World Bank Other Operational Studies
11278, The World Bank.
- Claessens, Stijn & Perotti, Enrico, 2007. "Finance and inequality: Channels and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 748-773, December.
- Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial Sector Policy and the Poor : Selected Findings and Issues," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14874.
- Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
- Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial development, growth, and poverty: how close are the links?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3203, The World Bank.
- Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996.
"Financial Dependence and Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997.
"Efficiency of financial institutions: international survey and directions for future research,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
1997-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: International survey and directions for future research," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 175-212, April.
- Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Efficiency of Financial Institutions: International Survey and Directions for Future Research," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-05, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirguc-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2005.
"SMEs, Growth, and Poverty: Cross-Country Evidence,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 199-229, 09.
- Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, 02.
- Clarke, George & Xu, Lixin Colin & Zou, Heng-fu, 2003.
"Finance and income inequality : test of alternative theories,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2984, The World Bank.
- George Clarke & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2013. "Finance and Income Inequality: Test of Alternative Theories," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(2), pages 493-510, November.
- George Clarke & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2003. "Finance and Income Inequality: Test of Alternative Theories," CEMA Working Papers 493, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Paulson, Jo Ann & McAndrews, James, 1998. "Financial services for the urban poor : South Africa's E Plan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2016, The World Bank.
- Barth, James R. & Caprio, Gerard Jr. & Levine, Ross, 2004.
"Bank regulation and supervision: what works best?,"
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 205-248, April.
- Barth, James R. & Caprio Jr., Gerard & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Bank regulation and supervision : what works best?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2725, The World Bank.
- James R. Barth & Gerard Caprio, Jr. & Ross Levine, 2002. "Bank Regulation and Supervision: What Works Best?," NBER Working Papers 9323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Tor Jansson & Ramón Rosales & Glenn D. Westley, 2004. "Principles and Practices for Regulating and Supervising Microfinance," IDB Publications 78868, Inter-American Development Bank.
- George Clarke & Robert Cull & Maria Soledad Martinez Peria & Susana M. S·nchez, 2003. "Foreign Bank Entry: Experience, Implications for Developing Economies, and Agenda for Further Research," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 18(1), pages 25-59.
- Hoff, Karla & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1998.
"Moneylenders and bankers: price-increasing subsidies in a monopolistically competitive market,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 485-518, April.
- Hoff, Karla & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1997. "Moneylenders and bankers: price-increasing subsidies in a monopolistically competitive market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 429-462, April.
- de la Torre, Augusto & Gozzi, Juan Carlos & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2007. "Innovative experiences in access to finance : market friendly roles for the visible hand ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4326, The World Bank.
- Marina Halac & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2004. "Distributional Effects of Crises: The Financial Channel," Journal of LACEA Economia, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
- repec:fth:wobaco:1083 is not listed on IDEAS
- Clarke, George R. G. & Cull, Robert & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad & Sanchez, Susana M., 2002.
"Bank lending to small businesses in Latin America : does Bank origin matter?,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2760, The World Bank.
- Clarke, George & Cull, Robert & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad & Sanchez, Susana M, 2005. "Bank Lending to Small Businesses in Latin America: Does Bank Origin Matter?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(1), pages 83-118, February.
- Clarke, George R. G. & Cull, Robert & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2001. "Does foreign bank penetration reduce access to credit in developing countries"evidence from asking borrowers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2716, The World Bank.
- Caprio, Gerard, Jr & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli, 1998.
"The Role of Long-Term Finance: Theory and Evidence,"
World Bank Research Observer,
World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 171-89, August.
- Caprio Jr., Gerard & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli, 1997. "The role of long term finance : theory and evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1746, The World Bank.
- King, Robert G & Levine, Ross, 1993.
"Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 717-37, August.
- James A. Hanson & Patrick Honohan & Giovanni Majnoni, 2003. "Globalization and National Financial Systems," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15160.
- Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
- Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2002. "Financial and legal constraints to firm growth - Does size matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2784, The World Bank.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.