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 Wewak district in Northwest Papua New Guinea. The program involves a two-day financial literacy training, timely offers of no-fee bank accounts with reduced administrative hurdles, and savings ‘nudges’. We use survey and bank account 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 70% of participants opened a bank account, we do not detect any significant effects. Our results draw into question the benefit of initiatives aiming to ‘bank the unbanked’ and reveal the challenges involved in promoting financial inclusion among the next frontier of underserved and hard-to-reach populations.

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