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Abstract

People are increasingly part of a complex landscape of financial transactions, services, and institutions across nearly all realms of everyday life. They face an often confusing array of choices of products, and the consequences of those choices can both reflect and exacerbate social and economic inequalities. In response to these contemporary conditions, there are global efforts to increase peoples’ financial capability, which is composed of the interrelated concepts of financial literacy and financial inclusion. The term financial capability includes a person’s ability to act (knowledge, skills, confidence, and motivation) and his or her opportunity to act (access to quality financial products, services, and policies). As such, financial capability efforts can be considered a social investment strategy, as the aims are to invest resources in communities to promote social and individual well-being. This paper provides what the authors see as the current state of the art regarding financial capabilities through a series of short case studies that exemplify the most current efforts across the globe.

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