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Ability or opportunity to act: What shapes financial well-being?

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  • Fu, Jonathan

Abstract

This paper draws on nationally representative survey data from 11 emerging and developed economies to measure consumer financial well-being and provide a systematic analysis of its predictors. Whereas the extant literature has been dominated by studies emphasizing the role of individuals’ levels of financial literacy and formal financial inclusion, the paper shifts focus towards contextual-level predictors by exploiting subregional variation in structural and institutional features of financial sectors, both within and across countries. It develops a conceptual framework that categorizes such features into 1) those that enhance or inhibit decision-making when selecting or using formal products and 2) those that provide viable substitutes or complements to formal products. It then provides empirical evidence on several examples. Specifically, it highlights the relative importance of having greater prevalence of independent information resources concerning financial products and services, additional provider choice, and some forms of semi-formal and informal finance. The main policy implications are that current efforts to improve broader welfare outcomes through financial literacy and inclusion interventions may still be too narrowly framed. Structural and institutional features related to financial sectors may hinder or enhance financial well-being, even if individuals have adequate financial literacy or be included in formal financial markets. The financial well-being concept may also serve as a useful indicator for monitoring progress towards SDGs 1, 3, 10, and 16.

Suggested Citation

  • Fu, Jonathan, 2020. "Ability or opportunity to act: What shapes financial well-being?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:128:y:2020:i:c:s0305750x19304929
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104843
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    Cited by:

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    2. Helena Susana Amaral Geraldes & Ana Paula Matias Gama & Mário Augusto, 2022. "Reaching Financial Inclusion: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 599-617, July.
    3. Zibei Chen & Terri Friedline & Catherine M. Lemieux, 2022. "A National Examination on Payday Loan Use and Financial Well-being: a propensity score matching Approach," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 678-689, December.
    4. Osvaldo García-Mata & Mariana Zerón-Félix, 2022. "A review of the theoretical foundations of financial well-being," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 69(2), pages 145-176, June.
    5. Julie Birkenmaier & David Rothwell & Mary Agar, 2022. "How is Consumer Financial Capability Measured?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 654-666, December.
    6. Mahendru, Mandeep & Sharma, Gagan Deep & Pereira, Vijay & Gupta, Mansi & Mundi, Hardeep Singh, 2022. "Is it all about money honey? Analyzing and mapping financial well-being research and identifying future research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 417-436.
    7. Ali, Muhammad Arsalan & Rehman, Khalil ur & Maqbool, Adnan & Hussain, Shahid, 2021. "The Impact of Behavioral Finance Factors and the Mediating Effect of Investment Behavior on Individual’s Financial Well-being: Empirical Evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Accounting and Finance in Emerging Economies, CSRC Publishing, Center for Sustainability Research and Consultancy Pakistan, vol. 7(2), pages 325-336, June.
    8. Minhaj Mahmud & Yasuyuki Sawada & Mari Tanaka, 2022. "Microfinance competition and multiple borrowing: Evidence using panel data from Bangladesh," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 1164-1188, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial well-being (financial health); Financial capability; Institutions; Personal finance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • G5 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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