The Financialization of Everyday Life: Mobile Money and (In)Formal Activity in a Developing Context

41 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2015 Last revised: 24 Apr 2015

See all articles by Christopher Yenkey

Christopher Yenkey

Univ. of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business

Laura Doering

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Pete Aceves

University of Chicago - Department of Sociology

Date Written: January 5, 2015

Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on the financialization of everyday life by studying the relationship between mobile money products and financialized practices in Kenya. We first outline a theoretical approach to studying financialization in developing countries that is consistent with research in developed countries but accommodates the differing motivations and operationalizations of financialized practices in the Global South. In part, this is accomplished by drawing explicit parallels to research on formal financial sector inclusion in developing countries. We extend research by considering how mobile money products may facilitate shifts toward financialized behaviors for individuals in the informal sector. Using nationally representative cross-sectional survey data measuring all financial products and practices used by 13,000 Kenyans, we find that mobile money use is positively related to increased inclusion in the formal financial sector, and formal sector inclusion is also related to the direct measures of financialized behaviors of saving for future needs and investing in productive assets. Additionally, we find that mobile money is also positively related to these financialized behaviors for Kenyans operating entirely in the informal sector. Additionally, we find that women and rural residents are less likely to pair mobile money with formal sector financial products but are no less likely to engage in savings and investment practices. Causal pathways to our correlational results are discussed. Beyond our specific findings, we advocate for an expanded research program on financialization in developing contexts and financialization in the informal sector.

Keywords: financialization, developing countries, mobile technology, self-organization, economic development, public policy

Suggested Citation

Yenkey, Christopher and Doering, Laura and Aceves, Pete, The Financialization of Everyday Life: Mobile Money and (In)Formal Activity in a Developing Context (January 5, 2015). Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2562518, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2562518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2562518

Christopher Yenkey (Contact Author)

Univ. of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business ( email )

1014 Greene St.
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Laura Doering

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

Pete Aceves

University of Chicago - Department of Sociology ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
463
Abstract Views
2,009
Rank
112,508
PlumX Metrics