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What drives international bank flows? Politics, institutions and other determinants

  • Papaioannou, Elias

This paper uses a large panel of bilateral bank flow data to assess how institutions and politics affect international capital -bank in particular- flows. The following key findings emerge: 1) The empirical "gravity" model is the benchmark in explaining the volume of international banking activities. 2) Conditioned on standard gravity factors (distance, GDP, population), well-functioning institutions are a key driving force for international bank flows. Specifically, foreign banks invest substantially more in countries with i) uncorrupt bureaucracies, ii) high-quality legal system, and iii) a non-government controlled banking system. 3) Beyond institutions, politics exert also a firstorder impact. 4) The European Integration process has spurred cross-border banking activities between member states. These results are robust to various econometric methodologies, samples and the potential endogeneity of institutional characteristics. The strong institutions/politics-bank flows nexus has strong implications for asset trade and international macro theories, which have not modelled these relationships explicitly. JEL Classification: F34, F21, G21, K00

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0437.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20050437
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  1. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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  4. Laura Alfaro & Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, 2004. "Why doesn't capital flow from rich to poor countries? An empirical investigation," 2004 Meeting Papers 53, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Marcella Alsan & David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2004. "The Effect of Population Health on Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 10596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Banerjee, Abhijit & Bacchetta, Philippe & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Currency Crises and Monetary Policy in an Economy with Credit Constraints," Scholarly Articles 4554218, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Boozer, Michael A., 1997. "Econometric Analysis of Panel Data Badi H. Baltagi Wiley, 1995," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 747-754, October.
  10. Lieven Baele & Annalisa Ferrando & Peter Hördahl & Elizaveta Krylova & Cyril Monnet, 2004. "Measuring financial integration in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 14, European Central Bank.
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