Coalitions within the Egyptian Banking Sector: Catalysts of the Popular Revolution
Among the triggers of the Egyptian Revolution are the sentiments of resentment against the convoluted alliances between private businesses and policymakers that deprived the masses of their fair share of the high GDP growth. But does this indictment extend to the Egyptian banking sector? Based on a field survey and a dataset of 3218 business loans made by 33 banks during 1999-2010, this research differentiates between growth catalysts and crony coalitions within the Egyptian banking sector. The results of the Generalized Estimating Equations reveal that preferential lending to politically-connected businesses has a negative impact on employment and income distribution. Loans to small and medium enterprises and public firms help enhance income distribution and job generation, albeit that the soft-budget constraint on loans to public firms deters growth. The paper presents some policy recommendations that could help exorcise patrimonialism and clientelism and enhance growth alliances within the sector that controls most of the credit flow in the Egyptian economy. The study is not only of grave importance to the Egyptian nation whose members are actively engaged in refurbishing its institutional framework, but is of equal significance to other emerging economies that are keen to install equity, political stability and socioeconomic prosperity.
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