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What Can We Learn about Financial Access from U.S. Immigrants? The Role of Country of Origin Institutions and Immigrant Beliefs


  • Una Okonkwo Osili
  • Anna Paulson


Immigrants from countries with more effective institutions are more likely than other immigrants to have a relationship with a bank and to use formal financial markets more extensively. The evidence that a country's institutional environment shapes beliefs--and by extension the use of financial services--provides support for policies that focus on institutional reforms in promoting financial access. After holding wealth, education, and other factors constant, the impact of institutional quality in the country of origin affects the financial market participation of all immigrant groups except those who have lived in the United States for more than 28 years. These findings are robust to alternative measures of institutional effectiveness, to controlling for additional country of origin characteristics, and to various methods for addressing potential biases caused by immigrant self-selection. Copyright The Author 2008. 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:, Oxford University Press.

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  • Una Okonkwo Osili & Anna Paulson, 2008. "What Can We Learn about Financial Access from U.S. Immigrants? The Role of Country of Origin Institutions and Immigrant Beliefs," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 431-455, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:431-455

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Vegh, Carlos A., 1995. "Nominal interest rates, consumption booms, and lack of credibility: A quantitative examination," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 357-378, April.
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    1. repec:kap:jfamec:v:38:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10834-017-9531-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anneke Kosse & David-Jan Jansen, 2011. "Choosing how to pay: the influence of home country habits," DNB Working Papers 328, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Haliassos, Michael & Jansson, Thomas & Karabulut, Yigitcan, 2014. "Incompatible European Partners? Cultural Predispositions and Household Financial Behavior," Working Paper Series 285, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden), revised 01 Jan 2015.
    4. repec:wly:jmoncb:v:48:y:2016:i:8:p:1691-1724 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Osili, Una Okonkwo & Paulson, Anna, 2014. "Crises and confidence: Systemic banking crises and depositor behavior," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 646-660.
    6. Balli, Faruk & Guven, Cahit & Balli, Hatice O. & Gounder, Rukmani, 2010. "The Role of Institutions, Culture, and Wellbeing in Explaining Bilateral Remittance Flows: Evidence Both Cross-Country and Individual-Level Analysis," MPRA Paper 29609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Albareto, G. & Mistrulli, P.E., 2010. "Bridging the gap between migrants and the banking system," MPRA Paper 26476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Kountouris, Yiannis & Remoundou, Kyriaki, 2013. "Is there a cultural component in tax morale? Evidence from immigrants in Europe," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 104-119.
    9. Kosse, Anneke & Jansen, David-Jan, 2013. "Choosing how to pay: The influence of foreign backgrounds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 989-998.
    10. Steven Ongena & Alexander Popov, 2016. "Gender Bias and Credit Access," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(8), pages 1691-1724, December.
    11. Matthew A. Painter & Zhenchao Qian, 2016. "Wealth Inequality Among Immigrants: Consistent Racial/Ethnic Inequality in the United States," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(2), pages 147-175, April.

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