Financial development and industrial capital accumulation
In an economy where decisions are decentralized and made under conditions of uncertainty, the financial system can be seen as the complex of institutions, infrastructure, and instruments that society adopts to minimize the costs of trading promises when agents have incomplete trust and limited information. Building on a microeconomic general equilibrium model that portrays such fundamental financial functions, the author shows that, in line with recent empirical evidence, the development of financial infrastructure stimulates greater and more efficient capital accumulation. He also shows that economies with more developed financial infrastructure can more easily absorb exogenous shocks to output. The results call for addressing a crucial issue in the sequencing of reform in the financial sector: early in development, banks provide essential financial infrastructure services as part of their exclusive relationships with borrowers. Further economic development requires that such services be provided extrinsically to the bank-borrower relationship, clearly at the expense of bank rents. There may be a compelling discontinuity to financial sector development in that banks need to be supported early in development but to be"weakened"later - at the expense of bank rents - to foster further development. The important question for policy is when and how to generate and manage this discontinuity so that it is not forced on society by costly and traumatic events such as bank failures.
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