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Financial Inclusion in High-Income Countries: Gender Gap or Poverty Trap ?


  • Anastasia Cozarenco
  • Ariane Szafarz


Little is still known about the determinants of financial inclusion in high-income countries. Using the Findex dataset, we focus on two regions: The Euro area and North America. We detect important differences between the two regions in the financial inclusion of women and poor households. In the Euro area, access to financial services can be challenging for women, while in North America, poor households are particularly underserved. We explore potential explanatory factors for the gender and poverty gaps using public social expenditures, inequality and gender discrimination measures, and labor market characteristics. As expected, the region-wise poverty gaps in financial inclusion are aligned with inequality measures. Yet, the factors connected with gender gaps are less intuitive. Our preliminary analysis shows that the gender gaps in financial inclusion are related more to (un)employment characteristics than to the level of institutional gender discrimination. This evidence in turn suggests a link between financial inclusion and the need for consumption smoothing. We therefore speculate that, in high-income countries, gendered financial exclusion is driven more by demand-side factors than by supply-side ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Anastasia Cozarenco & Ariane Szafarz, 2020. "Financial Inclusion in High-Income Countries: Gender Gap or Poverty Trap ?," Working Papers CEB WP 20-006, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/303606

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    Cited by:

    1. Cozarenco, Anastasia & Szafarz, Ariane, 2020. "The regulation of prosocial lending: Are loan ceilings effective?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).

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    More about this item


    Financial inclusion; High-Income Countries; Gender; Poverty; Euro Area; North America;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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