Impact of Financial Inclusion in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of Reviews
Financial inclusion is a dynamic space with a growing range of intervention types and players. In 2018, 3ie commissioned a systematic review of reviews of the impact of financial inclusion, the results are now in. They offer a new understanding of the distribution of impacts across the economic, social, gender and behavioural outcome dimensions, but also do not suggest that financial inclusion initiatives have transformative effects, or indeed are changing the world. This contrasts with the claims often made by funders of financial inclusion initiatives, such recently by the World Bank that financial inclusion is paramount for the SDGs. The review, rather, finds that the impacts of financial inclusion interventions are variable, context-dependent, and generally and may be no better than those of comparable alternatives, such as graduation or livelihoods interventions. The review of reviews also prompts thinking on the challenges of synthesising evidence through systematic reviews.
About the speakers
Maren Duvendack is a Senior Lecturer in Development Economics at the University of East Anglia, where her key research areas cover applied micro-econometrics, impact evaluation, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, microfinance, replication and reproduction of quantitative analyses as well as research ethics. Maren has extensively worked on microfinance impact evaluations in India and Bangladesh, and is particularly interested in the link between microfinance, empowerment and reproductive health.
Philip Mader is a Research Fellow in the Business, Markets and the State research cluster at IDS, and has over 10 years’ research and consulting experience in the field of international development. His research areas include political economy, finance and development, youth employment, management of public goods, financialisation, financial inclusion and financial literacy.
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