Geographic liberalization and the accessibility of banking services in rural areas
This study assesses the degree to which the liberalization of geographic banking restrictions has lived up to its promise of enhancing service accessibility in rural areas. The empirical framework is distinguished by a focus on changes in accessibility, as opposed to levels. While previous research has produced mixed results on the benefits of greater geographic powers for service accessibility in rural communities, the results reported here point unambiguously to a positive relationship between expansion opportunities and accessibility. Both OLS and ordinallevel probit regressions indicate that geographic banking liberalizations, particularly those leading to greater branching opportunities, have been associated with relatively strong growth in the number of banking offices serving rural areas.
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