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Institutional quality and financial market development: evidence from international migrants in the U.S

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  • Una Okonkwo Osili
  • Anna L. Paulson

Abstract

A growing body of theoretical and empirical work identifies the ability of a country’s institutions to protect private property and provide incentives for investment as a key explanation for the persistent disparity in financial market development. We add to this literature by analyzing the impact of institutions on financial development using data on the financial decisions of immigrants and the native-born in the U.S. While all of the individuals whose decisions we analyze face the same formal institutional framework in the U.S., immigrants bring with them varied experiences with institutions in their home countries. We find that immigrants who come from countries with institutions that are more effective at protecting property rights are more likely to participate in U.S. financial markets. ; The effect of home country institutions is very persistent and impacts immigrants for the first 25 years that they spend in the U.S. Evidence from variation in the effect of home country institutions by age at migration, suggests that individuals appear to learn about home country institutions before the age of sixteen, probably in the home and potentially at school, rather than through direct experience. These findings are robust to alternative measures of institutional effectiveness and to various methods of controlling for unobserved individual characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Una Okonkwo Osili & Anna L. Paulson, 2004. "Institutional quality and financial market development: evidence from international migrants in the U.S," Working Paper Series WP-04-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-04-19
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas K. Bauer & Deborah A. Cobb‐Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand & Mathias G. Sinning, 2011. "A Comparative Analysis Of The Nativity Wealth Gap," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(4), pages 989-1007, October.
    2. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2005. "Why are immigrants' incarceration rates so low? evidence on selective immigration, deterrence, and deportation," Working Paper Series WP-05-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "Trusting the Stock Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2557-2600, December.
    4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
    5. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand, 2006. "The Portfolio Choices of Hispanic Couples," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1344-1363.
    6. Kaushik Basu, 2005. "Racial conflict and the malignancy of identity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(3), pages 221-241, December.
    7. Milo, Melanie S., 2007. "Integrated Financial Supervision: an Institutional Perspective for the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2007-17, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    8. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hildebrand, Vincent A., 2008. "The Asset Portfolios of Native-Born and Foreign-Born Households," IZA Discussion Papers 3304, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Olsson, Ola & Hansson, Gustav, 2011. "Country size and the rule of law: Resuscitating Montesquieu," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 613-629, June.
    10. Kumar, Krishna B. & Matsusaka, John G., 2009. "From families to formal contracts: An approach to development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 106-119, September.

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    Keywords

    Immigrants ; Financial markets;

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