What is Financial Dualism? Complete Guide

The concept of financial dualism was first proposed by Professor Hala Myint. It focuses on the existence of organised and unorganized money markets in low- and middle-income countries. The organised money market consists of the central bank, commercial banks, cooperative societies, and insurance companies. The unorganised money market includes traders, merchants, landlords, friends, pawnbrokers, and chit funds.

The idea of a dual economy was first put forward by Benjamin Higins, the Ritchie Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne, in the late 1940s. It explained the underlying causes of unemployment in underdeveloped economies. The dualistic economy is typical of developing countries, where the traditional economy is coexisting with the modern economy. Both sectors have their benefits and drawbacks, and financial dualism is a result.

The term “financial dualism” refers to the coexistence of an organised and unorganised money market in LDCs. The former comprises indigenous bankers, moneylenders, merchants, landlords, and friends and relatives. The latter includes pawnbrokers, nidhis, and chit funds. Often, the latter form a more stable and lucrative market for credit.

Another theory explains the rise in unemployment in underdeveloped economies. While industrialization in developing countries does not cause capital formation, it does contribute to a growing population. Moreover, Higgins questions whether the development of the industrial sector is dependent on imported technology. Ultimately, this model ignores social and psychological factors. Therefore, if you want to understand the role of debt in an underdeveloped economy, you need to understand financial dualism.

The financial dualism concept of capitalism in a LDC is often confused with economics. In these situations, the two types of economies are coexisting. In some countries, the industrial sector is the organized one. But in other countries, the latter dominates the economy. It has been associated with low interest rates, which has led to a growing surplus of credit and savings in the country. If a nation has a more developed economy, it will have a higher rate of productivity.

The term mixed economy refers to a system that combines two types of economies and societies. The term was first coined in 1953 by the psychologist Vygotsky and economist Piaget, in colonial countries, the noncapitalist sector has its own unique economic and social logic. It has a mixed-economy model. The terms can be used interchangeably. However, the key is to understand the various aspects of it.

There are many aspects of this mixed economy. The most common are the differences between the two types of society. In contrast, the other type is characterized by a mixed-market economy. Hence, the term “mixed economy” means a mix of both the capitalist and noncapitalist sectors. The latter type is also the case in many cases, where there are different types of economic systems coexist.

The concept of financial dualism is related to the concept of mixed economies. It means that two types of economies coexist in an economy. This situation is called a mixed economy. It can refer to a mixed-economy country, and a noncapitalist society is characterized by an uncapitalized market. Both of these sectors have distinct social and economic logics. As a result, the economy functions as a single unit, despite having a hybrid structure.

The mixed economy concept is based on the coexistence of two different types of economies. In a mixed economy, the capitalist and noncapitalist sectors are not merged into one. Instead, they are separate. The differences between the two types of economies are rooted in the definition of the two sectors. The modern sector involves large-scale industries and plantations, while the noncapitalist sector is more fragmented and characterized by a more open economy. In addition, the latter tends to have lower real interest rates.

Financial dualism is a way of thinking that is often characterized by a belief in two supreme opposing powers. The difference between these two groups is important, as the two sets of forces are interrelated and incompatible. Unlike a monotheistic belief, a dualistic world view is the belief that a deity exists within a single universe. The differences between the divine and the human are based on the existence of God in the dual realm.

Definition of Financial Dualism

Financial dualism is a concept in economics that refers to the coexistence of two or more financial systems or sectors within an economy. This can occur in countries where a significant portion of the population does not have access to formal financial services or where the formal financial system is underdeveloped. In such cases, informal financial systems may emerge alongside the formal financial system, resulting in financial dualism.

Historically, financial dualism has been observed in many developing countries where the formal financial sector is limited, and the majority of the population relies on informal financial arrangements to access credit and other financial services. Some examples of countries with financial dualism include India, China, and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Financial dualism can take many different forms, including segmented financial markets, dual banking systems, multiple exchange rates, and informal financial systems. In segmented financial markets, there are separate markets for formal and informal financial services, with limited interaction between them. In dual banking systems, there are both Islamic and conventional banking systems operating in parallel. Multiple exchange rates can exist when different exchange rates are used for different purposes, such as for import/export transactions versus domestic transactions. Informal financial systems are typically unregulated and operate outside the formal financial system, often involving non-traditional arrangements such as moneylenders or rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs).

Financial dualism has important implications for economic development and financial stability. While it may increase access to credit for underserved populations and promote financial sector diversification, it can also fragment the financial system and reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy. As such, policymakers must carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of financial dualism when designing economic policies.

Types of Financial Dualism

Financial dualism is a concept that explains the coexistence of two financial systems within a country. These systems are usually differentiated based on the types of financial institutions and markets that exist in the economy. Broadly speaking, there are two types of financial dualism:

Institutional financial dualism: In institutional financial dualism, the formal financial sector coexists with an informal or non-formal financial sector. The formal financial sector includes regulated financial institutions such as commercial banks, insurance companies, and stock exchanges. The informal financial sector, on the other hand, comprises unregulated or partially regulated financial institutions such as moneylenders, pawnbrokers, and informal savings groups.

Geographic financial dualism: In geographic financial dualism, two or more financial systems coexist in different geographic regions of a country. For example, a country may have a well-developed financial system in its urban areas, but the rural areas may have a less developed financial system with limited access to formal financial institutions.

Both types of financial dualism have their own unique characteristics and challenges, and they can coexist in the same economy. Understanding the types of financial dualism is crucial for policymakers to design appropriate policies that promote financial inclusion and stability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Financial Dualism

Financial dualism can have both advantages and disadvantages for an economy, depending on the specific context and circumstances. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of financial dualism are:


  1. Increased financial inclusion: Financial dualism can increase financial inclusion by providing access to financial services for those who are underserved or excluded from the formal financial sector. The informal financial sector can be more accessible and flexible in serving the needs of low-income households and small businesses that may not meet the requirements of formal financial institutions.
  2. Diversification of financial services: Financial dualism can lead to a diversification of financial services by providing a range of financial products and services that cater to different customer needs. This can promote competition and innovation in the financial sector and can ultimately benefit consumers.
  3. Improved financial stability: Financial dualism can improve financial stability by reducing the reliance on a single financial system. In the event of a crisis or shock to one financial system, the other financial system can act as a buffer and help to mitigate the impact on the economy.


  1. Unequal access to financial services: Financial dualism can lead to unequal access to financial services, with some segments of the population having limited access to formal financial services. This can exacerbate income inequality and hinder economic growth and development.
  2. Regulatory challenges: Financial dualism can pose regulatory challenges for policymakers, as it requires them to oversee and regulate two or more financial systems with different characteristics and risks. This can be a complex and resource-intensive task.
  3. Increased risk of financial instability: Financial dualism can increase the risk of financial instability if the two financial systems are not well integrated or if there are significant differences in the level of regulation and supervision between the two systems. This can lead to a lack of coordination and communication between the different financial systems, which can amplify the impact of financial shocks on the economy.

Overall, financial dualism can have both positive and negative effects on an economy, and policymakers need to carefully consider the specific context and circumstances when designing policies that address financial dualism.

Comparison of Financial Dualism with Other Financial System Models

Financial dualism is an economic model that has its own advantages and disadvantages when compared to other financial system models. Here are some comparisons:

  1. Financial Dualism vs. Universal Banking: Universal banking is a financial system model where banks offer a wide range of financial services to individuals and corporations. Unlike financial dualism, universal banking offers greater access to financial services to more people. However, universal banking may be more prone to financial crisis due to the interconnectedness of financial institutions.
  2. Financial Dualism vs. Bank-Based Financial System: Bank-based financial systems are characterized by a few large banks dominating the financial market, providing long-term loans to corporations and investment in equity. Financial dualism, on the other hand, is a system where formal and informal financial institutions coexist, providing financial services to different segments of the population. Bank-based financial systems may be more efficient in allocating resources, but financial dualism is more inclusive, offering financial services to a larger part of the population.
  3. Financial Dualism vs. Market-Based Financial System: Market-based financial systems rely heavily on financial markets, such as the stock market and bond market, to allocate resources. Financial dualism, on the other hand, focuses on providing financial services to people who are outside the formal financial sector. Market-based financial systems may be more efficient in allocating resources, but they are more susceptible to market volatility.
  4. Financial Dualism vs. Islamic Financial System: Islamic finance is a system that operates according to Islamic principles, such as prohibiting interest and requiring investments to be ethical. Financial dualism and Islamic finance share similarities in terms of their emphasis on ethical investments and financial inclusion. However, Islamic finance is more centralized and regulated, while financial dualism is more decentralized and market-driven.

In conclusion, financial dualism has its own advantages and disadvantages when compared to other financial system models. It is important for policymakers to consider the unique characteristics of financial dualism when designing policies that aim to promote financial inclusion and economic growth.


In conclusion, financial dualism refers to a financial system model where two or more financial sectors exist within an economy, and these sectors operate independently of each other. The system is characterized by the coexistence of formal and informal financial sectors, with each sector playing a distinct role in the financial intermediation process.

The formal sector is typically comprised of large commercial banks, regulated financial institutions, and other formal lending agencies, while the informal sector is made up of small-scale and unregulated lending institutions like money lenders and microfinance institutions. While both sectors contribute to the growth of the economy, financial dualism can lead to disparities in financial access and widen the gap between the rich and poor.

Advantages of financial dualism include increased financial access for individuals who are unable to access formal financial services, and the provision of a buffer against financial shocks. However, it also has its disadvantages, such as the high cost of credit in the informal sector and the limited access to formal financial services for low-income individuals.

Financial dualism has been compared to other financial system models, including financial repression and financial liberalization. However, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial systems, and different models may work better in different economic contexts.

Overall, financial dualism is an important concept in understanding the financial systems of emerging economies and the role of both formal and informal financial sectors in promoting economic growth and development.

Frequently asked questions

What are the different types of economic dualism?

There are several types of economic dualism that can be observed in various countries and regions. Here are some examples:

  1. Rural-Urban Dualism: This refers to the economic divide between rural and urban areas. Rural areas are typically characterized by agriculture-based economies, while urban areas have more diversified economic activities. Rural areas tend to have lower levels of income, education, and healthcare compared to urban areas.
  2. Formal-Informal Dualism: This refers to the divide between the formal and informal sectors of the economy. The formal sector consists of businesses that are registered with the government, have legal protections, and pay taxes. The informal sector consists of unregistered and unregulated businesses, such as street vendors and small-scale enterprises. The informal sector often operates outside the law and has limited access to credit and other resources.
  3. Open-Closed Dualism: This refers to the divide between the domestic and international economies. Countries that are open to trade and foreign investment tend to have more diversified economies and higher levels of economic growth. Countries that are closed to trade and foreign investment tend to have more limited economic activities and lower levels of economic growth.
  4. Public-Private Dualism: This refers to the divide between the public and private sectors of the economy. The public sector includes government-owned and operated businesses and services, while the private sector includes businesses that are owned and operated by individuals or corporations. Public sector activities tend to be more focused on providing basic services and social welfare, while private sector activities tend to be more focused on generating profits.

Overall, economic dualism can have both positive and negative effects on economic development. While it can lead to economic inequality and social disparities, it can also provide opportunities for growth and innovation. It is up to policymakers to manage these dualities in a way that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the costs.

What is social dualism in economics?

Social dualism in economics refers to a situation where a society is divided into two distinct groups, typically characterized by differences in income, education, occupation, and access to resources. These groups are usually defined by the degree of their participation in the formal or modern sector of the economy and the informal or traditional sector. The formal sector refers to the organized and regulated part of the economy that is characterized by wage labor, formal contracts, and legal protection for workers, while the informal sector refers to unregulated and non-organized economic activities that are often conducted on a small scale, without formal contracts or legal protection.

In a socially dualistic society, one group may enjoy higher levels of income, education, and access to resources, while the other group may struggle to meet their basic needs and lack access to education, healthcare, and other essential services. This can result in significant disparities in wealth and power between the two groups, leading to social and economic inequalities. Social dualism is often seen as a key challenge for development, as it can limit the ability of the entire society to reach its full potential by excluding large segments of the population from economic and social opportunities.

Who has developed the theory of social dualism?

The theory of social dualism has been developed by Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish economist and sociologist, in his book “Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations” published in 1968.

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