Journal Article

Access to Financial Services: Measurement, Impact, and Policies

Thorsten Beck, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt and Patrick Honohan

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 119-145
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wbro/lkn008
Access to Financial Services: Measurement, Impact, and Policies

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  • Microeconomics
  • Financial Institutions and Services
  • Banking
  • Economic Development

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In many developing countries less than half the population has access to formal financial services, and in most of Africa less than one in five households has access. Lack of access to finance is often the critical mechanism for generating persistent income inequality, as well as slower economic growth. Hence expanding access remains an important challenge across the world, leaving much for governments to do. However, not all government actions are equally effective and some policies can even be counterproductive. This paper sets out principles for effective government policy on broadening access, drawing on the available evidence and illustrating with examples. The paper concludes with directions for future research.

Keywords: D31; G20; G21; O12; O16

Journal Article.  9503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics ; Financial Institutions and Services ; Banking ; Economic Development

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