IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An Empirical Reassessment of the Relationship Between Finance and Growth


  • Giovanni Favara


This paper reexamines the empirical relationship between financial development and economic growth. It presents evidence based on cross-section and panel data using an updated dataset, a variety of econometric methods, and two standard measures of financial development: the level of liquid liabilities of the banking system and the amount of credit issued to the private sector by banks and other financial institutions. The paper identifies two sets of findings. First, in contrast with the recent evidence of Levine, Loayza, and Beck (2001), cross-section and panel-data-instrumental-variables regressions reveal that the relationship between financial development and economic growth is, at best, weak. Second, there is evidence of nonlinearities in the data, suggesting that finance matters for growth only at intermediate levels of financial development. Moreover, using a procedure appropriately designed to estimate long-run relationships in a panel with heterogeneous slope coefficients, there is no clear indication that finance spurs economic growth. Instead, for some specifications, the relationship is, puzzlingly, negative.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Favara, 2003. "An Empirical Reassessment of the Relationship Between Finance and Growth," IMF Working Papers 03/123, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/123

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Valerie R. Bencivenga & Bruce D. Smith, 1991. "Financial Intermediation and Endogenous Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 195-209.
    2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-751, August.
    4. Robert G. King & Ross Levine, 1993. "Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 717-737.
    5. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara, 1998. "Stock Markets, Banks, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 537-558, June.
    6. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
    7. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1995. "Estimating long-run relationships from dynamic heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 79-113, July.
    8. Lee, Kevin & Pesaran, M Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1997. "Growth and Convergence in Multi-country Empirical Stochastic Solow Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 357-392, July-Aug..
    9. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    10. Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "The role of macroeconomic factors in growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
    11. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    12. Pesaran, M Hashem, 1997. "The Role of Economic Theory in Modelling the Long Run," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 178-191, January.
    13. Kalaitzidakis, Pantelis & Mamuneas, Theofanis P. & Savvides, Andreas & Stengos, Thanasis, 2001. "Measures of Human Capital and Nonlinearities in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 229-254, September.
    14. Canova, Fabio & Marcet, Albert, 1995. "The Poor Stay Poor: Non-Convergence Across Countries and Regions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1265, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    16. Li, Q. & Wang, Suojin, 1998. "A simple consistent bootstrap test for a parametric regression function," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 145-165, August.
    17. Jonathan R. W. Temple, 1998. "Robustness tests of the augmented Solow model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 361-375.
    18. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Stock markets, banks, and growth : correlation or causality?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2670, The World Bank.
    19. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
    20. Kevin Lee & M. Hashem Pesaran & Ron Smith, "undated". "Growth and Convergence in a Multi-County empirical Stochastic Solow Model," Discussion Papers in Economics 96/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    21. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    22. Liu, Zhenjuan & Stengos, Thanasis, 1999. "Non-linearities in Cross-Country Growth Regressions: A Semiparametric Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 527-538, Sept.-Oct.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Man-Keung Tang, 2007. "Private-Sector Financial Liabilities in Advanced Economies; Is More Better?," IMF Working Papers 07/118, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Guglielmo Barone & Federico Cingano, 2011. "Service Regulation and Growth: Evidence from OECD Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 931-957, September.
    3. Mwanza Nkusu & Selin Sayek, 2004. "Local Financial Development and the Aid-Growth Relationship," IMF Working Papers 04/238, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Zhuang, Juzhong & Gunatilake, Herath & Niimi, Yoko & Ehsan Khan, Muhammad & Jiang, Yi & Hasan, Rana & Khor, Niny & S. Lagman-Martin, Anneli & Bracey, Pamela & Huang, Biao, 2009. "Financial Sector Development, Economic Growth, and Poverty Reduction: A Literature Review," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 173, Asian Development Bank.
    5. Ceyla Pazarbasioglu & Gudrun Johnsen & Paul Louis Ceriel Hilbers & Inci Ötker, 2005. "Assessing and Managing Rapid Credit Growth and the Role of Supervisory and Prudential Policies," IMF Working Papers 05/151, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Popov, Alexander, 2017. "Evidence on finance and economic growth," Working Paper Series 2115, European Central Bank.
    7. Antonín Rusek, 2005. "Financial Integration and the New EU Member Countries: Challenges and Dilemmas," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2005(1), pages 17-32.
    8. Peter Backé & Balázs Égert, 2006. "Credit Growth in Central and Eastern Europe: New (Over)Shooting Stars?," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 1, pages 112-139.
    9. Sakib Bin Amin & Ridwan Mosharraf Hossain, 2017. "Finance-Growth Nexus in Bangladesh? An Empirical Analysis," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 7(2), pages 152-163, February.
    10. Bas B. Bakker & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Luc Laeven & Jérôme Vandenbussche & Deniz O Igan & Hui Tong, 2012. "Policies for Macrofinancial Stability; How to Deal with Credit Booms," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 12/06, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Renata Karkowska, 2016. "Sources of Foreign Currency Debt in European Countries (Zrodla zadluzenia walutowego w krajach europejskich)," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 14(63), pages 74-88.
    12. Simplice A, Asongu, 2011. "Finance and growth: Schumpeter might be wrong in our era. New evidence from Meta-analysis," MPRA Paper 32559, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 07 Feb 2013.
    13. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Financial Sector Development in the Middle East and North Africa," IMF Working Papers 04/201, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Elena Naumovska & Mihail Petkovski & Iskra Stanceva - Gigov, 2015. "Estimation Of The "Normal" Credit Growth In The Republic Of Macedonia With Regards To The Economic Fundamentals," Journal Articles, Center For Economic Analyses, pages 47-56, June.
    15. Papaioannou, Elias, 2007. "Finance and growth: a macroeconomic assessment of the evidence from a European angle," Working Paper Series 787, European Central Bank.
    16. repec:rss:jnljfe:v4i4p1 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Mahmoud Haddad & Sam Hakim, 2015. "Can Banks Lead the Economic Recovery of the Arab Spring?," Working Papers 965, Economic Research Forum, revised Nov 2015.
    18. Zeeshan Atiq & M. Emranul Haque, 2015. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: The Role of Financial Liberalization," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 201, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    19. Pasali, Selahattin Selsah, 2013. "Where is the cheese ? synthesizing a giant literature on causes and consequences of financial sector development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6655, The World Bank.
    20. Michael Graff, 2005. "Is There an Optimum Level of Financial Activity?," KOF Working papers 05-106, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    21. Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial development, growth, and poverty: how close are the links?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3203, The World Bank.
    22. REY, Serge, 2005. "Convergence réelle et convergence nominale dans les Pays de la région MENA
      [Real and nominal convergence amongst MENA countries]
      ," MPRA Paper 30206, University Library of Munich, Germany.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow) or (Hassan Zaidi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.