Financial Inclusion: What Have We Learned So Far? What Do We Have to Learn?

Author/Editor:

Adolfo Barajas ; Thorsten Beck ; Mohammed Belhaj ; Sami Ben Naceur

Publication Date:

August 7, 2020

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

The past two decades have seen a rapid increase in interest in financial inclusion, both from policymakers and researchers. This paper surveys the main findings from the literature, documenting the trends over time and gaps that have arisen across regions, income levels, and gender, among others. It points out that structural, as well as policy-related, factors, such as encouraging banking competition or channeling government payments through bank accounts, play an important role, and describes the potential macro and microeconomic benefits that can be derived from greater financial inclusion. It argues that policy should aim to identify and reduce frictions holding back financial inclusion, rather than targeting specific levels of inclusion. Finally, it suggests areas for future research.

Series:

Working Paper No. 20/157

Frequency:

regular

English

Publication Date:

August 7, 2020

ISBN/ISSN:

9781513553009/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2020157

Format:

Paper

Pages:

51

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