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Narrowing the Gender Gap in Mobile Banking

Jean Lee (), Jonathan Morduch, Saravana Ravindran () and Abu Shonchoy
Additional contact information
Jean Lee: World Bank
Saravana Ravindran: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

No 2108, Working Papers from Florida International University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Mobile banking and related digital financial technologies can make financial services cheaper and more widely accessible in low-income economies, but gender gaps persist. We present evidence from two connected field experiments in Bangladesh designed to encourage the adoption and use of mobile banking by poor, illiterate households. We show that training can dramatically increase adoption and usage by women. At the same time, women on average persist in using mobile banking at a lower rate than men. The study focuses on migrants and their families in Bangladesh. Despite large differences between female and male migrants in income and education, the first experiment shows that a training program led to a similarly large, positive impact on mobile banking usage by female and male migrants, increasing usage rates for both by about 45 percentage points. That led to increases in remittances sent to rural areas, reduced rural poverty, and increased rural consumption. Both female and male migrants in the treatment group, however, reported worse physical and emotional health, adding to health challenges reported by women across treatment and control groups. A second experiment explores whether the way that the technology was introduced and explained made an additional difference in narrowing gender gaps. Despite the lack of statistical power to detect small treatment impacts, we find suggestive evidence that the treatment increased mobile banking adoption by female migrants.

Keywords: gender; financial inclusion; digital money; migration; field experiment; Bangladesh (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O16 O33 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa, nep-exp, nep-fle, nep-gen, nep-mfd, nep-pay and nep-sea
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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