Bank account

Can government policies designed to promote financial inclusion encourage people to open an account at a bank or other financial institution? Results from our paper using a new survey of 13,000 adults across India suggest they can have an impact. Women, poor and illiterate adults were more likely to apply for an account after the government-led Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) program was introduced in India to encourage account ownership. The survey was carried out in early 2016, roughly a year and a half after the Indian government launched its flagship JDY program to achieve universal account ownership. The program encouraged every household to open one account by offering zero-balance accounts with no opening fees. The JDY has yielded impressive results: At the end of 2016, about 250 million accounts had been opened thanks to the new policy—earning the Indian government a Guinness World Records certificate recognizing the feat. —