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On fintech and financial inclusion


  • Thomas Philippon


The cost of financial intermediation has declined in recent years thanks to technology and increased competition in some parts of the finance industry. I document this fact and I analyze two features of new financial technologies that have stirred controversy: returns to scale and the use of big data and machine learning. I argue that the nature of fixed versus variable costs in robo-advising is likely to democratize access to financial services. Big data is likely to reduce the impact of negative prejudice in the credit market but it could reduce the effectiveness of existing policies aimed at protecting minorities.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Philippon, 2020. "On fintech and financial inclusion," BIS Working Papers 841, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:841

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buchak, Greg & Matvos, Gregor & Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit, 2018. "Fintech, regulatory arbitrage, and the rise of shadow banks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 453-483.
    2. Mary O'Mahony & Marcel P. Timmer, 2009. "Output, Input and Productivity Measures at the Industry Level: The EU KLEMS Database," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages 374-403, June.
    3. Guillaume Bazot, 2018. "Financial Consumption and the Cost of Finance: Measuring Financial Efficiency in Europe (1950–2007)," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 123-160.
    4. Andreas Fuster & Matthew Plosser & Philipp Schnabl & James Vickery, 2019. "The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(5), pages 1854-1899.
    5. Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2015. "Efficiently Inefficient: How Smart Money Invests and Market Prices Are Determined," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10441.
    6. Christopher J. Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?," NBER Working Papers 14083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Abraham,Facundo & Schmukler,Sergio L. & Tessada,Jose, 2019. "Robo-Advisors : Investing through Machines," Research and Policy Briefs 134881, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xiaomeng Lu & Yali Lai & Yong Zhang, 2023. "Digital financial inclusion and investment diversification: Evidence from China," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 63(S2), pages 2781-2799, June.
    2. Thiago Christiano Silva & Sergio Rubens Stancato de Souza & Solange Maria Guerra, 2022. "Covid-19 and market power in local credit markets: the role of digitalization," BIS Working Papers 1017, Bank for International Settlements.
    3. Laeven, Luc & Boot, Arnoud & Hoffmann, Peter & Ratnovski, Lev, 2020. "Financial Intermediation and Technology: What’s Old, What’s New?," CEPR Discussion Papers 15004, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Christophe Hurlin & Christophe Perignon & Sébastien Saurin, 2021. "The Fairness of Credit Scoring Models," Working Papers hal-03501452, HAL.
    5. Miyajima, Ken, 2022. "Mobile phone ownership and welfare: Evidence from South Africa’s household survey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    6. Chen, S. & Doerr, S. & Frost, J. & Gambacorta, L. & Shin, H.S., 2023. "The fintech gender gap," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    7. Boot, Arnoud & Hoffmann, Peter & Laeven, Luc & Ratnovski, Lev, 2021. "Fintech: what’s old, what’s new?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 53(C).
    8. János Müller & Ádám Kerényi, 2021. "Searching for a Way Out of the Labyrinth of Digital Financial Innovations - The Trap of Regulatory Challenges in the Digital Financial System," Financial and Economic Review, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 20(1), pages 103-126.
    9. Salvatore Cardillo & Raffaele Gallo & Francesco Guarino, 2021. "Main challenges and prospects for the European banking sector: a critical review of the ongoing debate," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 634, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    10. Dr. Robert Oleschak, 2021. "Financial inclusion, technology and their impacts on monetary and fiscal policy: theory and evidence," Working Papers 2021-04, Swiss National Bank.
    11. Thiago Christiano Silva & Sergio Rubens Stancato de Souza & Solange Maria Guerra, 2021. "COVID-19 and Local Market Power in Credit Markets," Working Papers Series 558, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    12. Lei Lu & Jianxing Wei & Weixing Wu & Yi Zhou, 2023. "Pricing strategies in BigTech lending: Evidence from China," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 333-374, June.
    13. Silva, Thiago Christiano & de Souza, Sergio Rubens Stancato & Guerra, Solange Maria & Tabak, Benjamin Miranda, 2023. "COVID-19 and bank branch lending: The moderating effect of digitalization," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).

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    More about this item


    fintech; discrimination; robo advising; credit scoring; big data; machine learning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions

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