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Access to Financial Services: Measurement, Impact, and Policies

  • Thorsten Beck
  • Asli Demirgüç-Kunt
  • Patrick Honohan

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.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 24 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 119-145

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:24:y:2009:i:1:p:119-145
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