The philosophy of research on financial inclusion

Nikhil Sapre

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


Financial inclusion is broadly defined as the ability of individuals and businesses to access useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. It is considered a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. Over the past decade or so, financial inclusion has received attention from academicians, development institutions, governments and the private sector. Drawing from the range of philosophical worldviews, which can at times seem indistinguishable especially in social science, this paper proposes that objectivism with a realist approach is foundational to academic research on financial inclusion. Beginning with a brief description of the key concepts, this paper substantiates the recommended philosophical paradigm through a critical evaluation of its appropriateness, relative strengths and limitations. Furthermore, it examines the influence of the preferred perspective on the research design.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSocial Science Research Network (SSRN)
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2016


  • financial inclusion
  • research philosophy
  • banking


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