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Should the Government Be in the Banking Business?: The Role of State-Owned and Development Banks

  • Eduardo Levy Yeyati
  • Alejandro Micco
  • Ugo Panizza

This paper surveys the theoretical and empirical literature on the role of state-owned banks and also presents some new results and a robustness analysis. The paper shows that state-owned banks located in developing countries have fiscal costs because they are characterized by lower returns than comparable privately owned banks (on the other hand, there is no evidence that state-owned banks located in industrial countries are less profitable than their private counterparts). We then point out that this evidence cannot be used as an argument against the existence of state-owned banks, as this low profitability might stem from state-owned banks activity on projects characterized by low private sector investment and high social return. While we find no evidence that the presence of state-owned banks promotes economic growth or financial development, we also find that the evidence that state-owned banks lead to lower growth and financial development is not as strong as previously thought.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 6684.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6684
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopezde-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2000. "Government Ownership of Banks," NBER Working Papers 7620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," NBER Working Papers 5744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Santiago Fernández de Lis & Jorge Martínez Pagés & Jesús Saurina, 2000. "Credit Growth, Problem Loans and Credit Risk Provisioning in Spain," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0018, Banco de Espa�a.
  4. Clarke, George R G & Cull, Robert, 2002. "Political and Economic Determinants of the Likelihood of Privatizing Argentine Public Banks," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 165-97, April.
  5. Robin Burgess & Rohini Pande, 2003. "Do Rural Banks Matter? Evidence from the Indian Social Banking Experiment," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 40, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  6. Bonin, John P. & Hasan, Iftekhar & Wachtel, Paul, 2005. "Privatization matters: Bank efficiency in transition countries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8-9), pages 2155-2178, August.
  7. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Detragiache, Enrica, 2002. "Does deposit insurance increase banking system stability? An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1373-1406, October.
  8. George J. Stigler, 1967. "Imperfections in the Capital Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 287.
  9. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State versus Private Ownership," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 133-150, Fall.
  10. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Claessens, Stijn & Laeven, Luc, 2002. "Financial development, property rights, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2924, The World Bank.
  12. E. Gerald Corrigan, 1982. "Are banks special?," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Sapienza, Paola, 2004. "The effects of government ownership on bank lending," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 357-384, May.
  14. Beck, Thorsten & Crivelli, Juan Miguel & Summerhill, William, 2005. "State bank transformation in Brazil - choices and consequences," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3619, The World Bank.
  15. Demirguc, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 1999. "Determinants of Commercial Bank Interest Margins and Profitability: Some International Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 379-408, May.
  16. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  17. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz, 1999. "Development banking," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 83-100, February.
  18. Kane, Edward J, 1977. "Good Intentions and Unintended Evil: The Case against Selective Credit Allocation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 9(1), pages 55-69, February.
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