DOES ECONOMIC POLICY UNCERTAINTY REDUCE FINANCIAL INCLUSION?
Keywords:Financial inclusion, policy uncertainty, economic policy uncertainty, non-performing loan, unbanked adults
This study investigates whether the level of economic policy uncertainty (EPU) would reduce the level of financial inclusion. It was predicted that a high level of EPU could have a negative effect on the level of financial inclusion. It was argued that a high level of EPU would discourage financial institutions from providing basic financial services to low end customers and unbanked adults, and this would lead to a decrease in the level of financial inclusion. Using a sample of 22 countries, the study found that the level of EPU did not have a significant impact on financial inclusion. None of the nine indicators of financial inclusion were found to have a significant direct relationship with EPU. However, there was some evidence that the combined effect of a high level of EPU and high nonperforming loans could reduce financial inclusion, particularly through bank branch contraction and a reduction in the use of electronic payments. Furthermore, the use of formal accounts and credit cards would increase in times of high credit supply and when there was a high level of EPU.
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