Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Designing an Equitable System with Public Policy
Mehrsa Baradaran, Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Designing an Equitable System with Public Policy Roosevelt Institute (2020).
Remedies for financial inclusion have been rooted in mistaken assumptions about credit markets. Inclusion and “access to credit” are viewed as ancillary, gap-filling, or as a subsidized add-on to credit markets for those who are left out. This paper proposes a different understanding of financial inclusion, which situates the problem as one rooted in the design of the financial system. Achieving financial inclusion requires structural changes to the “normal” financial system, secured through democratic means and policymaking rather than as a result of innovative companies and products. The design of credit markets is an a priori choice that determines who has access to credit. Instead of financial inclusion, this paper proposes to reframe the problem as a matter of financial redesign.