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Bank-based and market-based financial systems - cross-country comparisons

  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli
  • Levine, Ross

What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of bank-based financial systems (as in Germany and Japan) and market-based financial systems (as in England and the United States). Does financial structure matter? In bank-based systems banks play a leading role in mobilizing savings, allocating capital, overseeing the investment decisions of corporate managers, and providing risk management vehicles. In market-based systems securities markets share center stage with banks in getting society's savings to firms, exerting corporate control, and easing risk management. The unresolved debate about whether markets or bank-based intermediaries are more effectiveat providing financial services hampers the formation of sound policy advice. The authors use newly collected data on a cross-section of roughly 150 countries to illustrate how financial systems differ around the world. They a) analyze how the size, activity, and efficiency of financial systems differ across different per capita income groups; b) define different indicators of financial structure and identify different patterns as countries become richer, and c) investigate legal, regulatory, and policy determinants of financial structure after controlling for per capita GDP. A clear pattern emerges: 1) Banks, other financial intermediaries, and stock markets all grow and become more active and efficient as countries become richer. As income grows, the financial sector develops. 2) In higher income countries, stock markets become more active and efficient than banks. Thus, financial systems tend to be more market based. 3) Countries with a common law tradition, strong protection for shareholder rights, good accounting standards, low levels of corruption, and no explicit deposit insurance tend to be more market-based, even after controlling for income. 4) Countries with a French civil law tradition, poor accounting standards, heavily restricted banking systems, and high inflation generally tend to have underdeveloped financial systems, even after controlling for income.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2143.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2143
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  1. Mark L. Gertler, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 2559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:3:p:717-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Levine, Ross, 1998. "The Legal Environment, Banks, and Long-Run Economic Growth," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 596-613, August.
  5. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  6. Levine, Ross, 1999. "Law, Finance, and Economic Growth," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 8(1-2), pages 8-35, January.
  7. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
  8. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," NBER Working Papers 5879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  10. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance, entrepreneurship and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 513-542, December.
  11. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999. "Finance and the sources of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2057, The World Bank.
  12. Levine, Ross, 1996. "Financial development and economic growth : views and agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1678, The World Bank.
  13. Boyd, John H. & Levine, Ross & Smith, Bruce D., 2001. "The impact of inflation on financial sector performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 221-248, April.
  14. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Stock market development and financial intermediary growth : a research agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1159, The World Bank.
  15. anonymous, 1998. "Financial intermediation and growth," Economics Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Jan, pages 4.
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