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On the Impact of Financial Inclusion on Financial Stability and Inequality: The Role of Macroprudential Policies

A. El Said, N. Emara and J. Pearlman

Working Papers from Department of Economics, City University London

Abstract: Financial Inclusion - access to financial products by households and firms - is one of the main albeit challenging priorities, both for Advanced Economies (AEs) as well as Emerging Markets (EMs), even more so for the latter. Financial inclusion facilitates consumption smoothing, lowers income inequality, enables risk diversification, and tends to positively affect economic growth. Financial stability is another rising priority among policy makers. This is evident in the re-emergence of macroprudential policies after the global financial crisis, minimizing systemic risk, particularly risks associated with rapid credit growth. However, there are significant policy tradeoffs that could exist between both financial inclusion and financial stability, with mixed evidence on the link between the two objectives. Given the importance of macroprudential policies as a toolbox to achieve financial stability, we examine the impact of macroprudential policies on financial inclusion - a potential cause for financial instability if not carefully implemented. Using panel regressions for 67 countries over the period 2000-2014, our results point to mixed effects of macroprudential policies. The usage (and tightening) of some tools, such as the debt-to-income ratio, appear to reduce financial inclusion whereas others, such as the required reserve ratio (RRR), increase it. Specifically, both institutional quality and financial development appear to increase the effectiveness of macroprudential policies on financial inclusion. Institutional quality helps macroprudential policies boost financial inclusion, with mixed effects as a result of financial development, but the results are more significant when we include either institutional quality or financial development. This leads us to believe that macroprudential policies conditional on better institutional quality and financial development improves financial inclusion. This has important policy implications for financial stability.

Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fdg
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