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Do Rural Banks Matter? Evidence from the Indian Social Banking Experiment

  • Robin Burgess
  • Rohini Pande

    ()

Lack of access to finance is often cited as a key reason for why poor people remain poor. This paper uses data on the Indian rural branch expansion program to provide empirical evidence on this issue. Between 1977 and 1990, the Indian central bank mandated that a commercial bank can open a branch in a location with one or more bank branches only if it opens four locations with no bank branches. We show that, between 1977 and 1990, this rule caused banks to open relatively more rural branches in Indian states with lower initial financial development. The reverse was true outside this period. We exploit this fact to identify the impact of opening a rural bank on poverty and output. Our estimates suggest that the Indian rural branch expansion program significantly lowered rural poverty, and increased non-agricultural output.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 04/104.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:04/104
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Government Ownership of Banks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 265-301, 02.
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  12. Sapienza, Paola, 2004. "The effects of government ownership on bank lending," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 357-384, May.
  13. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
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  17. Binswanger, Hans P. & Khandker, Shahidur R & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1989. "How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 163, The World Bank.
  18. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Savings, credit and insurance," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2123-2207 Elsevier.
  19. Robin Burgess & Rohini Pande, 2005. "Do Rural Banks Matter? Evidence from the Indian Social Banking Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 780-795, June.
  20. Braverman, Avishay & Guasch, J. Luis, 1986. "Rural credit markets and institutions in developing countries: Lessons for policy analysis from practice and modern theory," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(10-11), pages 1253-1267.
  21. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara, 1996. "Stock markets, banks, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1690, The World Bank.
  22. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
  23. Robin Burgess & Rohini Pande & Grace Wong, 2005. "Banking for the Poor: Evidence From India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 268-278, 04/05.
  24. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 2002. "Is India's economic growth leaving the poor behind?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2846, The World Bank.
  25. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
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  29. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
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