The perverse effect of government credit subsidies on banking risk
Government intervention in credit markets has been criticized as potentially conducive to distortions in the behaviour of both banks and firms. We argue that credit subsidies may lead to a decline in the level of screening performed by banks. This effect was at work in Italy in the early 1990s when subsidized lending was still important and several intermediaries experienced a deterioration in their loan portfolios. The novelty of the paper is to show that the share of government subsidized credit on a bank's loan portfolio contributes to explaining the overall credit risk of the intermediary.
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