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Drug Money and Bank Lending: The Unintended Consequences of Anti-Money Laundering Policies

Author

Listed:
  • Tomas Williams

    (George Washington University)

  • Pablo Slutzky

    (University of Maryland)

  • Mauricio Villamizar-Villegas

    (Central Bank of Colombia)

Abstract

We explore how anti-money laundering (AML) policies affect banks and credit provision to firms. For identification we exploit the enactment of a financial regulation in Colombia. Aimed at controlling the flow of money from drug trafficking into the financial system, we find that after implementation bank deposits in municipalities with high drug trafficking decline. This negative liquidity shock has consequences for credit in other municipalities. Banks sourcing their deposits from areas with high drug trafficking cut lending relative to other banks. Using a proprietary database containing data on bank-firm credit relationships, we show that small firms that rely on credit from affected banks experience a negative shock to sales, investment, and profitability. Furthermore, we use night-lights data to show that these results are not due to a reallocation of activity across firms nor between the formal and informal sectors. Our evidence uncovers a hidden to be considered when implementing AML policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Williams & Pablo Slutzky & Mauricio Villamizar-Villegas, 2019. "Drug Money and Bank Lending: The Unintended Consequences of Anti-Money Laundering Policies," Working Papers 2019-5, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy, revised May 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2019-5
    as

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    File URL: http://www2.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/2019WP/WilliamsIIEP2019-5.pdf
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    File URL: http://www2.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/2019WP/WilliamsIIEP2019-5-Revised1.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    money laundering; organized crime; financial system; bank lending; liquidity; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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