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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Patrick Honohan, 2009. "Access to Financial Services: Measurement, Impact, and Policies," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 119-145, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:24:y:2009:i:1:p:119-145
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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    4. World Bank, 2010. "Scaling-Up SME Access to Financial Services," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12515, The World Bank.
    5. Asongu, Simplice A. & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C., 2017. "The synergy of financial sector development and information sharing in financial access: Propositions and empirical evidence," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 242-258.
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    7. 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.
    8. 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 and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 56501, The World Bank.
    9. 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.
    10. Serena Patricia Canaan, 2011. "The Determinants of Expansion of SMEs under a Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme: The Case of Lebanon," Working Papers 624, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jan 2011.
    11. repec:spr:anresc:v:59:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s00168-017-0814-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Zhaobin Fan & Ruohan Zhang, 2017. "Financial Inclusion, Entry Barriers, and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-21, February.
    13. Cyn-Young Park & Rogelio Mercado Jr., 2018. "Financial Inclusion: New Measurement and Cross-Country Impact Assessment," Working Papers wp29, South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre.
    14. Xu Guangdong, 2013. "Property Rights, Law, and Economic Development," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 117-142, July.
    15. de Koker, Louis & Jentzsch, Nicola, 2013. "Financial Inclusion and Financial Integrity: Aligned Incentives?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 267-280.
    16. Michael King, 2012. "Assistant Professor," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp399, IIIS.
    17. Ahrang Lee, 2013. "Welfare Losses from Financial Frictions: The Role of Fixed Costs," 2013 Meeting Papers 1359, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    18. Tobias Berg & Valentin Burg & Ana Gombović & Manju Puri, 2018. "On the Rise of FinTechs – Credit Scoring using Digital Footprints," NBER Working Papers 24551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. José Carlos González Núñez & Humberto García de Alba Carrillo, 2016. "Un análisis econométrico del ahorro y seguros formales en la población urbana y rural en México.An econometric analysis of savings and formal insurance in urban and rural population in Mexico," Economía Coyuntural,Revista de temas de perspectivas y coyuntura, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales 'José Ortiz Mercado' (IIES-JOM), Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Administrativas y Financieras, Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno, vol. 1(3), pages 73-111.
    20. James Barth & Dongyun Lin & Keven Yost, 2011. "Small and Medium Enterprise Financing in Transition Economies," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(1), pages 19-38, March.
    21. Philip Kostov & Thankom Arun & Samuel Annim, 2014. "Financial Services to the Unbanked: the case of the Mzansi intervention in South Africa," Contemporary Economics, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, vol. 8(2), June.
    22. Bailey, Rachel & Hartarska, Valentina, 2017. "Women's Property Rights and Outreach of Microfinance Institutions Targeting Women," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 253159, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    23. Wai-Yip Alex Ho & Chun-Yu Ho, 2016. "Inflation, Financial Developments, and Wealth Distribution," IMF Working Papers 16/132, International Monetary Fund.

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