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Growth and Finance

  • John Driffill

    (Birkbeck College, University of London)

I review selectively some of the trends in research on the relationships between financial markets and economic growth. Economic theory provides many arguments as to why, given the widespread existence of moral hazard and adverse selection problems in financial transactions, more highly developed financial markets might facilitate faster economic growth. However, it is less clear that summary measures of financial development and structure, widely used in empirical research, are adequate. I review some recent empirical work in this area, and show that apparent effects of financial development on growth may be capturing regional differences, and other factors. There appears to be little empirical support for an effect of financial structure on growth. Much empirical work in this field uses data over short periods of time, of a few decades in length. Looking over longer periods, non-financial forces of increasing returns in production, increasing returns to agglomeration and falling transport costs appear more important, and the potential role of financial markets rather less. The question of whether finance plays a causal role or merely follows economic development remains an open one. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester, 2003.

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Article provided by University of Manchester in its journal The Manchester School.

Volume (Year): 71 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (07)
Pages: 363-380

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Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:71:y:2003:i:4:p:363-380
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  1. Bencivenga, Valerie R. & Smith, Bruce D., 1993. "Some consequences of credit rationing in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 97-122.
  2. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
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  7. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  8. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
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  10. Owen, Ann L. & Weil, David N., 1998. "Intergenerational earnings mobility, inequality and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 71-104, February.
  11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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  13. Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
  14. De Gregorio, Jose, 1996. "Borrowing constraints, human capital accumulation, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 49-71, February.
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