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Kling, Gerhard, Pesque-Cela, Vanesa, Tian, Lihui and Luo, Deming (2020) 'A Theory of Financial Inclusion and Income Inequality.' The European Journal of Finance. (Forthcoming)

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Abstract

We develop a theory linking financial inclusion, defined as access to formal loans and financial assets, to income inequality. Initial inequality of households is modeled by a random variable determining initial endowments. These initial endowments can be used to invest instantaneously in human capital and financial assets. Human capital translates into income based on a strictly concave production function, suggesting optimal levels of investment. Financial assets earn yields which do not depend on the amount invested by individuals. Theoretical predictions are tested using the China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) for 2011 and 2013. Initial conditions modeled by a random variable are replaced by an actual distribution of income or assets to derive theoretical predictions regarding the proportion of the population that might benefit from financial inclusion. Financial inclusion does mitigate under-investment in education – but formal loans do not contribute. Income inequality worsens if households rely on formal or informal loans, whereas access to bank accounts improves households' prospects in the future income distribution. However, households below the 40th percentile of household income do benefit from informal loans.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
ISSN: 1351847X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1080/1351847X.2020.1792960
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2020 08:34
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/34151
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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