Consumer Protection for Financial Inclusion in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: Bridging Regulator and Academic Perspectives

Seth Garz, Xavier Giné, Dean Karlan, Rafe Mazer, Caitlin Sanford, Jonathan Zinman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Markets for consumer financial services are growing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries and are being transformed by digital technologies and platforms. With growth and change come concerns about protecting consumers from firm exploitation due to imperfect information and contracting as well as from their own decision-making limitations. We seek to bridge regulator and academic perspectives on these underlying sources of harm and five potential problems that can result: high and hidden prices, overindebtedness, postcontract exploitation, fraud, and discrimination. These potential problems span product markets old and new and could impact micro- and macroeconomies alike. Yet there is little consensus on how to define, diagnose, or treat such problems. Evidence-based consumer financial protection will require substantial advances in theory and especially empirics, and we outline key areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-246
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Financial Economics
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

Keywords

  • Consumer protection
  • Household finance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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