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Banks as Catalysts for Industrialization

  • Marco Da Rin
  • Thomas Hellmann

We provide a new theory of the role of banks as catalysts for industrialization. In their influential analysis of 19th century continental European industrialization, Gerschenkron and Schumpeter accorded banks a central role, arguing that they promoted the creation of new industries. We formalize this role of banks by introducing financial intermediaries into a 'big push' model. We show that banks may act as `catalysts' for industrialization provided that they are sufficiently large to mobilize a critical mass of firms, and that they possess sufficient market power to make profits from coordination. The theory provides simple conditions that help to explain why banks seem to play a creative role in some but not in other emerging markets. The model also shows that universal banking helps to reduce the cost of coordination. Finally, we show that one disadvantage of catalytic banks is that they may favor concentration in the industrial sector.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 443.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2001-443
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