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Financial Inclusion in High-Income Countries: Gender Gap or Poverty Trap ?

Anastasia Cozarenco and Ariane Szafarz

No WP 20-006, Working Papers CEB from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: Little is still known about the determinants of financial inclusion in high-income countries. Using the Findex dataset, we focus on two regions: The Euro area and North America. We detect important differences between the two regions in the financial inclusion of women and poor households. In the Euro area, access to financial services can be challenging for women, while in North America, poor households are particularly underserved. We explore potential explanatory factors for the gender and poverty gaps using public social expenditures, inequality and gender discrimination measures, and labor market characteristics. As expected, the region-wise poverty gaps in financial inclusion are aligned with inequality measures. Yet, the factors connected with gender gaps are less intuitive. Our preliminary analysis shows that the gender gaps in financial inclusion are related more to (un)employment characteristics than to the level of institutional gender discrimination. This evidence in turn suggests a link between financial inclusion and the need for consumption smoothing. We therefore speculate that, in high-income countries, gendered financial exclusion is driven more by demand-side factors than by supply-side ones.

Keywords: Financial inclusion; High-Income Countries; Gender; Poverty; Euro Area; North America (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G21 O11 O15 J16 I32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-04-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fle, nep-gen, nep-hme and nep-ltv
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