Financial Repression in a Natural Experiment: Loan Allocation and the Change in the Usury Laws in 1714
AbstractIf in general, financial deepening aids economic growth, then financial repression should be harmful. We use a natural experiment – the change in the English usury laws in 1714 – to analyse the effects of interest rate restrictions. Based on a sample of individual loan transactions, we demonstrate how the reduction of the legal maximum rate of interest affected the supply and demand for credit. Average loan size and minimum loan size increased strongly, and access to credit worsened for those with little ‘social capital’. While we have no direct evidence that loans were misallocated, the discontinuity in loan receipts makes this highly likely. We conclude that financial repression can undermine the positive effects of financial deepening; Britain’s disappointing growth during the period 1750-1850 may partly reflect the effects of harmful credit market regulation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4452.
Date of creation: Jun 2004
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- Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2005. "Financial Repression in a Natural Experiment: Loan Allocation and the Change in the Usury Laws in 1714," Working Papers 209, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
- N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- O16 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
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