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Beyond legal origin and checks and balances : political credibility, citizen information, and financial sector development

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  • Keefer, Philip

Abstract

The existing literature emphasizes and contrasts the role of political checks and balances and legal origin in determining the pace of financial sector development. This paper expands substantially on one aspect of this debate: the fact that government actions that promote financial sector development, whether prudent financial regulation or secure property and contract rights, are public goods and sensitive to political incentives to provide public goods. Tests of hypotheses emanating from this argument yield four new conclusions. First, two key determinants of those incentives-the credibility of pre-electoral political promises and citizen information about politician decisions-systematically promote financial sector development. Second, these political factors, along with political checks and balances, operate in part through their influence on the security of property rights, an argument asserted but not previously tested. Third, contrary to findings elsewhere in the literature, the political determinants of financial sector development are significant even in the presence of controls for legal origin. Finally, and again in contrast to the literature, the evidence here suggests that legal origin primarily proxies for political phenomena. Legal origin is a largely insignificant determinant of financial sector development whenthose phenomena are fully taken into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4154.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4154

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Related research

Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Privatization; Political Economy; Inequality; Legal Products;

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References

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  1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  3. Randall S. Kroszner & Thomas Stratmann, 1996. "Interest Group Competition and the Organization of Congress:Theory And Evidence from Financial Services Political Action Committees," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 126, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  4. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, . "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Working Papers 182, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. White, Eugene, 1995. "Deposit insurance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1541, The World Bank.
  9. Kroszner, Randall S & Strahan, Philip E, 1996. " Regulatory Incentives and the Thrift Crisis: Dividends, Mutual-to-Stock Conversions, and Financial Distress," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1285-1319, September.
  10. Charles W. Calomiris & Eugene N. White, 1994. "The Origins of Federal Deposit Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 145-188 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Thorsten Beck & Samuel Munzele Maimbo, 2013. "Financial Sector Development in Africa : Opportunities and Challenges," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11881, October.
  2. Theo Eicher & Till Schreiber, 2006. "Structural Policies and Growth: Time Series Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 48, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  3. Haggard, Stephan & Tiede, Lydia, 2011. "The Rule of Law and Economic Growth: Where are We?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 673-685, May.

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