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La finanza informale nelle economie in via di sviluppo


  • Arnaldo Mauri



The financial systems and financial markets of developing countries have a common feature: the dualism. This means the co-existence and operation side by side of a formal or institutional financial sector and of an informal or non-institutional financial sector. The great diversity of informal financial activities makes difficult to evalute the actual extent of informal finance in each economy, but empirical evidence in a number of less developed countries suggests that such extent is always relevant. Many examples bear witness of vitality of informal finance in filling the gaps left by operations of formal financial intermediaries: segments of the market neglected, credit rationing pursued through non-price allocation, exorbitant transaction costs shifted off to borrowers . The paper provides a comprehensive study of the role of informal finance in these economies, in rural as well as in urban areas, and of the main characters of the informal financial markets. Credit markets where heterogeneity of lenders faces heterogeneity of borrowers: different lenders may have different information about different borrowers. It investigates financial markets of developing countries highlighting crucial topics such as innovation capacity, effectiveness in personal savings mobilization, competition in funds rising and in credit supplying, personalistic relationship, interest rates charged, transaction costs inherent to financial intermediation, asymmetrical information, moral hazard, credit risk (arrears, delinquency, default), market interlinkage. Various types of operators of the informal financial sector, both individuals (moneylenders, pawnbrokers, indigenous bankers, traders, deposits collectors) and mutual associations (Roscas and Ascras), are listed and analised. Finally due attention is given to interlinks between formal and informal financial circuits: large financial flows can take place, in fact, between formal and informal sectors. Furthermore a pronounced complementarity of the two sectors emerges: in many instances informal finance should not be seen as a substitute of institutional finance, as it has been often done in the past, but rather as a complement.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnaldo Mauri, 2000. "La finanza informale nelle economie in via di sviluppo," Departmental Working Papers 2000-09, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Universit√† degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2000-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mitra, Pradeep K., 1983. "A theory of interlinked rural transactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 167-191, March.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn, 1993. "The Economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 792-810, September.
    3. Bouman, F J A & Houtman, R, 1988. "Pawnbroking as an Instrument of Rural Banking in the Third World," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 69-89, October.
    4. Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis & Sengupta, Kunal, 1986. "Interlinkages in Rural Markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 112-121, March.
    5. van den Brink, Rogier & Chavas, Jean-Paul, 1997. "The Microeconomics of an Indigenous African Institution: The Rotating Savings and Credit Association," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(4), pages 745-772, July.
    6. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "Between the State and the Market: Can Informal Insurance Patch the Safety Net?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 187-207, August.
    7. Timberg, Thomas A & Aiyar, C V, 1984. "Informal Credit Markets in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 43-59, October.
    8. Miracle, Marvin P & Miracle, Diane S & Cohen, Laurie, 1980. "Informal Savings Mobilization in Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 701-724, July.
    9. Bell, Clive, 1990. "Interactions between Institutional and Informal Credit Agencies in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 297-327, September.
    10. Herath, Gamini & Hardaker, J. Brian, 1992. "Rural Credit Markets and Imperfect Information: A New Perspective," 1992 Conference (36th), February 10-13, 1992, Canberra, Australia 146527, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
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    More about this item


    developing economy; financial dualism; informal sector; personalistic relationship; market interlinkage.;

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Microcredito in Wikipedia Italian ne '')
    2. Sottosviluppo in Wikipedia Italian ne '')
    3. Microfinanza in Wikipedia Italian ne '')


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