While financial inclusion is typically addressed by improving the financial infrastructure, we show that a higher degree of financial literacy also has a clear beneficial effect. We study this effect at the cross-country level, which allows us to consider institutional variation. Regarding “access to finance”, financial infrastructure and financial literacy are mainly substitutes. However, regarding the “use of financial services”, the effect of higher financial literacy strengthens the effect of more financial depth. The causal interpretation of these results is supported by IV-regressions. Moreover, the positive impact of financial literacy holds across income levels and several subgroups within countries.
Keywords: financial development, financial inclusion, financial institutions, financial literacy