According to the World Bank Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database (2011), 2.5 billion adults (about half of the world’s adult population) have no access to financial services delivered by regulated financial institutions. While account penetration is nearly universal in high-income nations, it is only 41 percent in developing countries.  This paper contributes to the discussion about the enablers and barriers to responsible financial inclusion by assessing to what extent differences in the adoption of post-crisis global regulatory standards can explain cross-country variation in financial inclusion. Some of the questions this paper sets out to answer include if implementation of global regulatory standards hampered financial inclusion or helped it and if national regulators in developing countries have been able to apply international regulatory recommendations in a proportionate manner. Using the 2011 Global Findex database, two original indices of financial inclusion for 90 developing and emerging economies were constructed in order to benchmark countries’ performance in this dimension. These indices were then used as the dependent variables in cross-country regression analyses, evaluating the impact of various aspects of global regulatory standards. 

Part of Series

These papers are an output of a project that aims to promote policy and institutional innovation in global economic governance in two key areas: governance of international monetary and financial relations and international collaboration in financial regulation. With authors from eight countries, the 11 papers in this series add to existing knowledge and offer original recommendations for international policy cooperation and institutional innovation.
  • Mariana Magaldi de Sousa is professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico City. She has worked as a consultant to the InterAmerican Development Bank, Oxfam International and the Ministry of Social Development in Mexico.