Examining evidence of financial and credit exclusion in Canada from 1999 to 2005
Changes are occurring in the provision of consumer credit, including the expansion of subprime and some fringe financial services (e.g., payday lending). We link two existing literatures on credit constraint and financial exclusion to assess the impact of these developments on the financial circumstances of low and modest-income consumers. We develop a model that identifies observable measures of credit constraint and financial exclusion and relate them to consumer characteristics and life cycle behaviour. We estimate this model using the two latest Surveys of Financial Security for 1999 and 2005, which provide consistent evidence of credit constraint and financial exclusion through time. We find modest overlap among our measures of financial exclusion, which include a zero balance/no account, credit card refusal, and using a pawnshop. Probit regression is used to investigate the factors influencing the incidence of financial exclusion. The results are similar for 1999 and 2005 and indicate rising incidence of financial exclusion as income and wealth fall, although the relationship is nonlinear such that incidence rises much faster at very low levels of income and wealth. Our analysis also suggests potentially important links between financial literacy, formal education, asset building, and financial exclusion and credit constraint. When we combine the samples, we find statistically significant evidence of growth in the incidence of each indicator of financial exclusion when other factors are held constant. Policy implications may include the strengthening of banking regulations that affect low-income Canadians and the promotion of universal financial literacy.
Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
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