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Bridging the gap between migrants and the banking system


  • Giorgio Albareto

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Paolo Mistrulli

    () (Bank of Italy)


In this paper, we test whether micro firms run by migrants pay more for credit than firms run by natives and whether the differences in the cost of credit for these two groups of entrepreneurs decrease as the informational and cultural gaps narrow. We employ a large and unique data set providing us with detailed information on each overdraft loan granted by banks to sole proprietorships based in Italy. We find that migrants pay, on average, almost 70 basis points more for credit than natives. The interest rate differential is lower for entrepreneurs born in Italy whose parents were natives of other countries (�second generation� migrants) and for migrants whose parents were natives of Italy (�Italian migrants�). These results suggest that cultural differences may matter for the functioning of the credit market. A lengthening of credit history reduces the interest rate differential between the two types of entrepreneurs. Finally, we find that both increases in the size of the migrant community and improvements in banks� ability to deal with cultural diversity help narrow the interest rate differential between migrant and Italian entrepreneurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgio Albareto & Paolo Mistrulli, 2011. "Bridging the gap between migrants and the banking system," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 794, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_794_11

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    Cited by:

    1. Diaz-Serrano, Luis & Raya, Josep M., 2014. "Mortgages, immigrants and discrimination: An analysis of the interest rates in Spain," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 22-32.
    2. Leonel Prieto & Tagi Sagafi-nejad & Balaji Janamanchi, 2013. "A Bourdieusian Perspective on Acculturation: Mexican Immigrants in the United States," Administrative Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-16, December.
    3. repec:wsi:jdexxx:v:18:y:2013:i:01:n:s1084946713500039 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    migration; bank lending; interest rates;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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