Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

Financial Inclusion

Partner: International non-profit company


This non-profit organisation partner sought to identify the most socially inclusive financial services in Zambia, to inform development and policy initiatives aimed at reducing poverty. A key challenge in this area however, relates to disentangling low-use of financial products due to lack of access to those services, versus due to socio-economic excluders such as wealth, education and gender. 

Approach and Method

Statistical analyses of FinScope survey data on engagement with different types of financial product in Zambia were undertaken.  They examined the frequency with which eight different types of financial product were used by Zambians nationally (including formal bank accounts; standard savings groups; women’s credit and savings groups (‘Chilimbas’); formal insurance; pensions and capital markets; credit and savings cooperatives; mobile money; money transfer services; and micro finance).

The novel approach investigated whether there were differences in the extent to which individuals used each product conditional upon having access to it (in other words, conditionally on at least one other person in the same locality recorded as using it).  It then explored whether, conditional upon access, wealth, education and gender affected the incidence of use.


Standard savings groups and women’s savings groups (‘Chilimbas’) were found to be the two most inclusive types of financial service (the graph below shows, for example, that use of these two products is less dependent on socioeconomic status than are other products). This, and the fact that savings groups offer members more flexibility and potentially greater financial gains, led to policy recommendations that savings group interventions should comprise a key strategy for promoting financial inclusion.

Financial inclusion graph

Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5458
Enquiries: jose.guinotsaporta@nottingham.ac.uk
Experiments: cedex@nottingham.ac.uk