Measuring Financial Access: Outlining the Scope of Current Data Collection Efforts

The need for macroeconomic indicators to gauge financial access
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This document focuses on the need to gather relevant data that can guide public policy initiatives to enhance the access to financial services of low income households and enterprises.

In an attempt to arrive at a conclusive framework for data collection, the document guides the reader through the following sections:

  • Why is there a need to gather data on financial access?
  • What are the limitations of existing data?
  • What are the types of national data required?
  • How to achieve international consistency?
  • What are the next steps and organizational issues?

The World Bank is in the process of creating and publishing a comprehensive database of national Financial Development Indicators, which will include key access indicators, allowing direct cross-country comparisons. The document presents quantitative data and charts to provide an essence of the emerging dataset and the ways in which they can be used. Analysis of this data shows:

  • Financial depth and reach indicators are not highly correlated;
  • Financial access varies widely, even at the same level of mean income;
  • The percentage of households that save in a formal financial institution;
  • Poverty rates are negatively correlated with access to finance, although others factors do matter as well.

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