Bank Presence and Health

Publication Date
Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers DP 872
Publication Authors

This paper demonstrates that increasing bank presence in underserved areas can substantially improve households’ health. I apply a regression discontinuity design to a policy of the Reserve Bank of India. Six years after the policy introduction, treatment districts have 19% more branches than control districts. Households’ probability of suffering from a non-chronic disease in a given month is 36% lower. I show evidence that two understudied aspects of banking play a role: banks provide health insurance to households and credit to hospitals. In equilibrium, I observe an increase in health care demand and supply.