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Personal Wealth from a Global Perspective$
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James B. Davies

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548880.001.0001

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Household Financial Assets in the Process of Development

Household Financial Assets in the Process of Development

Chapter:
(p.271) 13 Household Financial Assets in the Process of Development
Source:
Personal Wealth from a Global Perspective
Author(s):

Patrick Honohan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548880.003.0013

Systematic information on household financial asset holdings in developing countries is very sparse; the chapter reviews some available data and current policy debates. Although financial asset holdings by households are highly concentrated, deeper financial systems are correlated with improved income distribution. For low‐income countries, the relevant question for poor households is not how much financial assets they have, but whether they have any access to financial products at all. Building on and synthesizing disparate data‐collection efforts by others, the chapter produces new estimates of access percentages for over 150 countries. Across countries, access is negatively correlated with poverty rates, but the correlation is not a robust one; thus the supposed anti‐poverty potential of financial access remains econometrically elusive. Despite policy focus on the value of credit instruments, it is deposit products that tend to be the first to be used as prosperity increases, before more sophisticated savings products and borrowing.

Keywords:   household behaviour, asset holding, credit, income distribution, poverty

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