Achieving the United Nations' sustainable development goals through financial inclusion: A systematic literature review of access to finance across the globe

Alper Kara, Haoyong Zhou, Yifan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Access to credit may have a direct effect on achieving United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in ending poverty, improving health and education, and reducing inequality. In this paper, we systematically review the growing empirical evidence on whether individuals’ demographic characteristics (such as gender and race) and socio-economic features (such as income and education) effect their ability in accessing credit. Our survey covers peer reviewed articles providing empirical evidence, using quantitative and qualitative data, published between 2000 and 2020 (February). We find that having more education and/or being more financially literate increases households’ and entrepreneurs’ access to credit. Individuals with lower income and less wealth are less likely to obtain credit from the mainstream financial institutions. In emerging countries, women are more likely to be rejected and deprived from formal credit, and pay higher cost. Non-Whites, ethnic minorities, disabled people and immigrants are also more likely to be excluded from the formal credit markets. We find that abovementioned credit deprived segments of the society resort to fringe finance providers, such as pay-day lenders or pawnbrokers, with higher costs. These findings are remarkably similar across developed and developing countries. Finally, we provide direction for further research in achieving SDGs through financial inclusion and access to credit by highlighting various shortcomings of the existing literature and empirical evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101833
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Review of Financial Analysis
Volume77
Early online date24 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2021

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