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Bank Competition and Credit Constraints in Developing Countries: New Evidence


  • Florian Leon

    (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


Whether competition helps or hinders small firms' access to finance is in itself a much debated question in the economic literature and in policy circles, especially in the developing world. Economic theory offers conflicting predictions and empirical contributions provide mixed results. This paper considers the consequences of interbank competition on credit constraints using firm level data covering 70 developing and emerging countries. In addition to the classical concentration measures, competition is assessed by computing three non-structural measures (Lerner index, Boone indicator, and H-statistics). The results show that bank competition alleviates credit constraints, while bank concentration measures are not robust predictors of a firm's access to finance. Findings highlight that bank competition not only leads to less severe loan approval decisions but also reduces borrowers' discouragement. In addition, a secondary result of this paper documents that banking competition enhances credit availability more by reducing prices than by increasing relationship lending.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Leon, 2014. "Bank Competition and Credit Constraints in Developing Countries: New Evidence," Working Papers halshs-01015810, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01015810
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    Cited by:

    1. Bátiz-Zuk, Enrique & Lara-Sánchez, José Luis, 2022. "Measuring the evolution of competition and the impact of the financial reform in the Mexican banking sector, 2008–2019," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    2. Szabó, Zsolt, 2019. "Elbátortalanodott hiteligénylők a vállalati szektorban [Discouraged borrowers in the corporate sector]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(11), pages 1145-1186.
    3. Li, Shuangyan & Fu, Huan & Wen, Jun & Chang, Chun-Ping, 2020. "Separation of ownership and control for Chinese listed firms: Effect on the cost of debt and the moderating role of bank competition," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    4. Álvarez, Roberto & Bertin, Mauricio Jara, 2016. "Banking competition and firm-level financial constraints in Latin America," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 89-104.
    5. Peisen Liu & Shoujun Huang & Houjian Li, 2018. "Bank Concentration and Firms' Debt Structure: Evidence from China," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 19(1), pages 213-227, May.

    More about this item


    discouraged borrower; developing countries; access to credit; Bank competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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