To what extent does financial inclusion improve individual health status? Evidence from Colombia
Financial inclusion helps poor households to improve their consumption levels, protect against risks and significantly reduce the need to sell assets to meet basic needs. With access to savings, credit, insurance, and other financial services, poor people take advantage of economic opportunities, ar...
|Formato:||Trabajo de grado (Bachelor Thesis)|
Financial inclusion; Microfinance; Health status; Economic development; Microcredit; Financial services; Poverty
|Acceso en línea:||http://babel.banrepcultural.org/cdm/ref/collection/p17054coll23/id/681|
|Sumario:||Financial inclusion helps poor households to improve their consumption levels, protect against risks and significantly reduce the need to sell assets to meet basic needs. With access to savings, credit, insurance, and other financial services, poor people take advantage of economic opportunities, are more resilient and better able to cope with the everyday crises they face. Thus, the use of financial services is associated with improvements in household economic welfare and enterprise stability or growth. By reducing vulnerability and increasing earnings and savings, financial services allow poor households to make the transformation from ‘every-day survival’ to ‘planning for the future’ (Kiva-Organization).
Microfinance is even more than providing a fundamental economic basis for planning and expanding business activities. By supporting women's economic participation, microfinance helps to empower women, thus promoting gender-equity and greater investment in their children's education. Also, increased earnings from financial services lead to better nutrition and better living conditions, which translates into a lower incidence of illness. With more money, poor people may seek out and pay for health care services when needed, rather than go without or wait until their health seriously deteriorates. The availability of credit for entrepreneurs is likely to lead to economic diversification and wealth creation in the community, which might support the development of health-related infrastructure such as sanitation and medical facilities (UNCDF Microfinance).
Many different studies have shown that poor people who participate in microfinance programs that had access to financial services have better economic conditions than those who did not have access to financial services (Nawaz, 2010). While this empirical evidence seems almost to be done, we looked for a field that is nearly unexplored. Instead of understanding the determinants of financial inclusion or exclusion, this study will focus on the outcomes of interest that are shaped by financial exclusion.
One such outcome is individual health. To start with, individual health (and mostly mental rather than physical health) is lower the larger the uncertainty individuals face, for a given level of income. As long as financial inclusion provides insurance against many possible shocks, and allows a better planning of one's life, we should expect a positive effect of financial inclusion on individual health. Also, it seems that in most impoverished communities, financial inclusion serves to raise the level of general sanitation, which also improves individual health. With research data from Columbia, this study considers if there is any statistical significance for the linkage between financial inclusion and health.
The organization of this study is the following. In Section 2 we describe the principals of financial inclusion, determinants of health and the current linkage between microfinance and health. After the theoretical part, Section 3 offers the data collection process, explains the basic survey and gives an analysis of the descriptive statistics. Section 4 includes the definition of the relevant variables as well as the regression of the models we used. The empirical findings are shown in Section 5, while the evaluation and the discussion of the results are shown in Section 6. Finally, Section 7 presents some conclusions.|