AbstractUsing a multilevel approach, I examine individual and contextual determinants of financial inclusion. I investigate, in a cross-country-setting, factors that affect people's decision making regarding the use of formal financial products and services, focusing on the effect of institutions—the legal, regulatory and policy environment. Second, I analyse gender differences in the use of banking products across countries, and look at the impact of legislation aimed at empowering women in the workplace on female financial inclusion. Third, I examine the socio-economic determinants of financial inclusion in Peru.
My results provide important policy implications for advancing financial inclusion. I show that financial inclusion is not uniquely driven by a greater banking system outreach, the legal environment in which individuals and financial institutions interact, the existence of enabling regulatory frameworks for the expansion of financial services to the unbanked, and an adequate infrastructure to support the provision of financial services are also equally significant factors in explaining people’s participation in the formal financial system. Second, I demonstrate the existence of systematic gender differences in financial inclusion across countries. My findings show that countries that have put in place legislation to empower women in the job market and strong mechanisms to enforce this legislation tend to exhibit a smaller gender gap in account ownership. Third, I show that lengthy travel times to financial service points (branches, ATMs and banking agents) represent an important barrier to financial inclusion in Peru, especially for the rural population. I also demonstrate that participation in paid employment is associated with Peruvian women’s engagement with the formal financial system.
|Date of Award||1 Oct 2019|
|Supervisor||Sean Fox (Supervisor)|