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Increasing Financial Inclusion in the Muslim World: Evidence from an Islamic Finance Marketing Experiment

Dean Karlan, Adam Osman and Nour Musallam Shammout

No 9200, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: Low utilization of household credit in developing countries may be partially due to religious considerations. In a randomized marketing experiment in Jordan, this paper estimates the effect of sharia-compliant loan features on demand for credit. To comply with Islamic law, the sharia-compliant product uses a bank fee rather than an interest payment structure, while keeping the rest of the product features very similar. Sharia-compliance increased the application rate for loans from 18 percent to 22 percent, an increase in demand that is equivalent to a 10 percent decrease in interest rates. This study also randomly varied the price of the sharia-compliant loan and finds that less religious individuals are twice as elastic with respect to price as the more religious. By comparing reasons for refusal across treatment groups, this paper estimates that survey measures that try to assess the importance of religious objections to conventional credit overestimate the importance of this type of objection by a third.

Keywords: Microfinance; Rural Microfinance and SMEs; Financial Sector Policy; Islamic Finance; Legal Reform; Regulatory Regimes; Legislation; Social Policy; Legal Products; Judicial System Reform; Educational Sciences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-04-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-fle, nep-isf and nep-mfd
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