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Local Financial Institutions and Income Inequality: Evidence from Brazil's Credit Cooperative Movement

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Phelps, P 


jats:titleABSTRACT</jats:title>jats:pLocal financial institutions can play a crucial role in reducing income inequalities at the within‐country level by promoting inclusive economic growth and development across time and space. This is against a backdrop of increasing financial and economic fragility, to which emerging economies have also been exposed over more recent decades and years. This article adds emerging economy evidence from Brazil to an empirical literature on the income inequality implications of cooperative financial institutions. Panel‐data estimations for 2004‒19 reveal that Brazilian credit cooperatives have gone beyond commercial banks in supporting communities that have traditionally been underserved financially. Additionally, the article provides new evidence and insights on credit cooperatives’ resilience in the context of a relatively recent but severe economic crisis in Brazil. The results indicate that credit cooperatives have helped fill gaps in finance and economic opportunity that tend to arise in an emerging economy setting. Furthermore, the contribution of credit cooperatives in filling these gaps is found to be more significant at lower levels of development. These findings add theoretical and, importantly, empirical support to the relationship channel of financial inclusion, which is in line with the optimistic perspective in this debate.</jats:p>



3801 Applied Economics, 3802 Econometrics, 38 Economics, 44 Human Society, 4404 Development Studies, 10 Reduced Inequalities

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Development and Change

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