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Mobile Money and the Economy: A Review of the Evidence


  • Janine Aron


Mobile money is a recent innovation that provides financial transaction services via mobile phone, including to the unbanked global poor. The technology has spread rapidly in the developing world, “leapfrogging” the provision of formal banking services by solving the problems of weak institutional infrastructure and the cost structure of conventional banking. This article examines the evolution of mobile money and its important role in widening financial inclusion. It explores the channels of economic influence of mobile money from a micro perspective, and critically reviews the empirical literature on the economic impact of mobile money. The evidence convincingly suggests that mobile money fosters risk-sharing, but direct evidence of the promotion of welfare and saving is still mostly rather less robust.

Suggested Citation

  • Janine Aron, 2018. "Mobile Money and the Economy: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 33(2), pages 135-188.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:33:y:2018:i:2:p:135-188.

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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2020. "Accelerating Digital Transformation in Zambia," World Bank Other Operational Studies 33806, The World Bank.
    2. Kaur, Puneet & Dhir, Amandeep & Bodhi, Rahul & Singh, Tripti & Almotairi, Mohammad, 2020. "Why do people use and recommend m-wallets?," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 56(C).
    3. Tetteh, Godsway Korku & Goedhuys, Micheline & Konte, Maty & Mohnen, Pierre, 2020. "Towards a new index of mobile money inclusion and the role of the regulatory environment," MERIT Working Papers 2020-035, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Bahia, Kalvin & Castells, Pau & Cruz, Genaro & Masaki, Takaaki & Pedrós, Xavier & Pfutze, Tobias & Rodriguez Castelan, Carlos & Winkler, Hernan, 2020. "The Welfare Effects of Mobile Broadband Internet: Evidence from Nigeria," IZA Discussion Papers 13219, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Luc Jacolin & Massil Keneck & Alphonse Noah, 2019. "Informal Sector and Mobile Financial Services in Developing Countries: Does Financial Innovation Matter?," Working papers 721, Banque de France.
    6. A.T.M. Hasibul, Islam & Syed Abul, Basher & A.K. Enamul, Haque, 2019. "The Impact of Mobile Money on Long-Term Poverty: Evidence from Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 97466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Xue Wang, 2020. "Mobile Payment and Informal Business: Evidence from China's Household Panel Data," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 28(3), pages 90-115, May.

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