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Welfare Losses from Financial Frictions: The Role of Fixed Costs

  • Ahrang Lee

    (The Bank of Korea)

Are fixed costs to using financial intermediation quantitatively important in explaining income differences across-countries? I introduce fixed costs into an entrepreneurship model with financial frictions where agents are heterogeneous in their financial assets, entrepreneurial ability and labor productivity. I find that the fraction of agents using financial intermediation substantially decreases as fixed costs increase. Fixed costs as low as 11 per cent of typical year's income lower the intermediated population from almost one to one fifth. Fixed costs also reduce accumulation of capital by 20 per cent as they restrict the intermediated population. Lastly, barriers to financial intermediation play an important role in increasing wealth inequality within an economy and across economies. Aforementioned fixed costs raise the wealth Gini index from 0.78 to 0.92 and reduce income by 10 per cent. That is, the fixed costs alone can explain 10% of income difference between Belgium and Guyana.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 1359.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:1359
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  1. Jeremy Greenwood & Juan M. Sánchez & Cheng Wang, 2010. "Quantifying the impact of financial development on economic development," Working Papers 2010-023, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 163-92, January.
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  4. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  5. Francisco J. Buera & Yongseok Shin, 2013. "Financial Frictions and the Persistence of History: A Quantitative Exploration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 221 - 272.
  6. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
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