Map week continues. I stumbled upon paper with a table showing banking sector branch and ATM penetration. It’s called “Reaching out: Access to and use of banking services across countries” and was written by Beck et al from World Bank. Unfortunately It’s behind a paywall.
What the authors have attempted among other things is to assess how easily people can access banking services. I was interested because of two things. First any sort of decent standard of living probably includes easy bank access. it’s difficult to buy anything large, like a home or to save for anything, like old age if you don’t have access to a bank.
The second thing is that from my perspective an ATM is ancient tech and this paper was written in 2006 which is not that long ago. I think this can be explained by two things: technology has advanced rather fast and living in a rich western country makes things easy. I can also add that visiting an actual physical bank feels like a waste of time. This is also why I think that these penetrations don’t really tell what the authors hope they would. I suspected that even during 2006 access to a physical bank had lost value as a proxy to good standard of living. However, Figure 1 shows a fair linear relationship between demographic ATM penetration and GDP per capita.