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Financial inclusion and legal discrimination against women : evidence from developing countries


  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli
  • Klapper, Leora
  • Singer, Dorothe


This paper documents and analyzes gender differences in the use of financial services using individual-level data from 98 developing countries. The data, drawn from the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database, highlight the existence of significant gender gaps in ownership of accounts and usage of savings and credit products. Even after controlling for a host of individual characteristics including income, education, employment status, rural residency and age, gender remains significantly related to usage of financial services. This study also finds that legal discrimination against women and gender norms may explain some of the cross-country variation in access to finance for women. The analysis finds that in countries where women face legal restrictions in their ability to work, head a household, choose where to live, and receive inheritance, women are less likely to own an account, relative to men, as well as to save and borrow. The results also confirm that manifestations of gender norms, such as the level of violence against women and the incidence of early marriage for women, contribute to explaining the variation in the use of financial services between men and women, after controlling for other individual and country characteristics.

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  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora & Singer, Dorothe, 2013. "Financial inclusion and legal discrimination against women : evidence from developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6416, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6416

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Demirgüç-Kunt, A. & Beck, T.H.L. & Honohan, P., 2008. "Finance for all? : Policies and pitfalls in expanding access," Other publications TiSEM aec73d3a-d6eb-457f-9182-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-417, May.
    3. Aterido, Reyes & Beck, Thorsten & Iacovone, Leonardo, 2011. "Gender and finance in Sub-Saharan Africa : are women disadvantaged ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5571, The World Bank.
    4. Muravyev, Alexander & Talavera, Oleksandr & Schäfer, Dorothea, 2009. "Entrepreneurs' gender and financial constraints: Evidence from international data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 270-286, June.
    5. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 2000. "Finance and the sources of growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 261-300.
    6. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2009. "Finance and Inequality: Theory and Evidence," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 287-318, November.
    7. Buvinic, Mayra & Berger, Marguerite, 1990. "Sex differences in access to a small enterprise development fund in Peru," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 695-705, May.
    8. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2006. "Entry regulation as a barrier to entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 591-629, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:intfin:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:209-227 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rolando Gonzales & Gabriela Aguilera-Lizarazu & Andrea Rojas-Hosse & Patricia Aranda, 2016. "Preference for women but less preference for indigenous women: A lab-field experiment of loan discrimination in a developing economy," Working Papers PIERI 2016-24, PEP-PIERI.
    3. Dalia S Hakura & Mumtaz Hussain & Monique Newiak & Vimal V Thakoor & Fan Yang, 2016. "Inequality, Gender Gaps and Economic Growth; Comparative Evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 16/111, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Seck, Ousmane & Naiya, Ismaeel Ibrahim & Muhammad, Aliyu Dahiru, 2017. "Financial Inclusion and Household Consumption: Case of Nigeria," Working Papers 2017-3, The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI), revised 20 Aug 2017.
    5. Leora Klapper & Sandeep Singh, 2015. "The Gender Gap in the Use of Financial Services in Turkey," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25412, The World Bank.
    6. Claudia Piras & Andrea Filippo Presbitero & Roberta Rabellotti, 2013. "Definitions Matter: Measuring Gender Gaps in Firms' Access to Credit," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 90, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    7. Romina Kazandjian & Lisa L Kolovich & Kalpana Kochhar & Monique Newiak, 2016. "Gender Equality and Economic Diversification," IMF Working Papers 16/140, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Thorsten Beck, 2015. "Cross-Border Banking and Financial Deepening: The African Experience," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 24(suppl_1), pages 32-45.
    9. Ghosh, Saibal & Vinod, D., 2017. "What Constrains Financial Inclusion for Women? Evidence from Indian Micro data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 60-81.
    10. Terrence Kairiza & Philemon Kiprono & Vengesai Magadzire, 2017. "Gender differences in financial inclusion amongst entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 259-272, January.
    11. Beck, Thorsten & Cull, Robert, 2014. "SME finance in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7018, The World Bank.
    12. Annim, Samuel & Arun, Thankom Gopinath, 2013. "Is Climbing Difficult? A Gendered Analysis on the Use of Financial Services in Ghana and South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 7688, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Solomon Y. Deku & Alper Kara & Phil Molyneux, 2014. "Access to Consumer Credit in the UK," Working Papers 14004, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    14. Oğuz Cennet, 2015. "Importance Of Rural Women As Part Of The Population In Turkey," European Countryside, De Gruyter Open, vol. 7(2), pages 101-110, June.
    15. Serge Ky & Clovis Rugemintwari & Alain Sauviat, 2017. "Does Mobile Money Affect Saving Behavior? Evidence from a Developing Country," Working Papers hal-01360028, HAL.

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    Access to Finance; Gender and Law; Financial Literacy; Gender and Development; Population Policies;

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