Bank Presence and Health

67 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2021 Last revised: 8 Jan 2024

Date Written: September 8, 2021


This paper examines whether more bank presence in underserved areas can improve households' health. I utilize a policy of the Reserve Bank of India from 2005, applying a regression discontinuity design. Five years after the policy introduction, treatment districts have 27 more branches than control districts. This improved financial access in treatment districts positively impacts health. Six years after the policy, households are 19 percentage points less likely to suffer from a non-chronic illness in a given month. Chronic diseases remain unaffected. I provide suggestive evidence that an employment effect, household savings accounts, and hospital credit contribute to the impact. In contrast, personal bank loans play no role for the average household.

Funding Information: Supported by the Chazen Institute for Global Business and the Bernstein Center for Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School

Conflict of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: Financial Development, Banks, Health

JEL Classification: G21, O16, I15

Suggested Citation

Cramer, Kim Fe, Bank Presence and Health (September 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Kim Fe Cramer (Contact Author)

LSE Finance Department ( email )

MAR 7.35
Houghton Street
London, London WC2A2AE
United Kingdom


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