Taking financial access to remote and insecure areas: impacts of a comprehensive financial inclusion intervention in Papua New Guinea

Crawford School of Public Policy
Photo by Goroka on Flickr

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 28 July 2020


Online via Zoom


Christopher Hoy, Crawford School, ANU

We study the impacts of a comprehensive financial inclusion program in a uniquely remote, insecure, low-trust setting, lacking bridging institutions to facilitate sustained interventions. We evaluate this program by randomly assigning treatment to 40 villages in East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea. The program involves two days of financial literacy training, timely offers of no-fee bank accounts with reduced administrative hurdles, and savings ‘nudges’. We use survey and administrative data to measure its impact on financial literacy, budgeting and savings behaviour as well as on the ownership and use of bank accounts. Although 25% of adults in treatment villages attended the training and two-thirds of participants opened a bank account, we fail to detect any significant effects from the intervention. Our results draw into question the benefit of initiatives that aim to ‘bank the unbanked’ and would suggest that efforts are redirected towards people already in the cash economy.

Updated:  6 July 2020/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team