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Impact of financial inclusion in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review of reviews

April 2 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Financial inclusion is a dynamic space with a growing range of intervention types and players. A recent 3ie-funded systematic review of reviews focuses on the impact of financial inclusion interventions. While the authors offer a new understanding of the distribution of impacts across the economic, social, gender and behavioural outcome dimensions, they do not suggest that financial inclusion interventions have transformative effects or are changing the world.

This contrasts with the claims made by some funders who believe that financial inclusion is paramount for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Findings show that the impacts of such interventions are variable, context-dependent, and generally might not be better than the impacts of comparable alternatives, such as poverty graduation or livelihoods interventions. This review also sets the tone to discuss 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 worked extensively 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 Institute of Development Studies, and has over 10 years’ research and consulting experience in the field of international development. His research interests include political economy, finance and development, youth employment, management of public goods, financialisation, financial inclusion and financial literacy.


Room LG4 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
15-17 Tavistock Place
London,WC1H 9SH

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