IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Banks and Development: Jewish Communities in the Italian Renaissance and Current Economic Performance

  • Pascali, Luigi

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Are differences in local banking development long-lasting? Do they affect long-term economic performance? I answer these questions by relying on an historical development that occurred in Italian cities during the 15th century. A sudden change in the Catholic doctrine had driven the Jews toward money lending. Cities that were hosting Jewish communities developed complex banking institutions for two reasons: first, the Jews were the only people in Italy who were allowed to lend for a profit and, second, the Franciscan reaction to Jewish usury led to the creation of charity lending institutions, the Monti di Pietà, that have survived until today and have become the basis of the Italian banking system. Using Jewish demography in 1500 as an instrument, I provide evidence of (1) an extraordinary persistence in the level of banking development across Italian cities (2) large effects of current local banking development on per-capita income. Additional firm-level analyses suggest that well-functioning local banks exert large effects on aggregate productivity by reallocating resources toward more efficient firms. I exploit the expulsion of the Jews from the Spanish territories in Italy in 1541 to argue that my results are not driven by omitted institutional, cultural and geographical characteristics. In particular, I show that, in Central Italy, the difference in current income between cities that hosted Jewish communities and cities that did not exists only in those regions that were not Spanish territories in the 16th century. JEL classification: O43 ; G21 ; O10

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1026.

in new window

Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1026
Contact details of provider: Postal:

Phone: +44 (0) 2476 523202
Fax: +44 (0) 2476 523032
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman & Beck, Thorsten, 2000. "Financial intermediation and growth: Causality and causes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 31-77, August.
  2. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 14899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2005. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 922-948, December.
  4. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
  5. Pietro Alessandrini & Andrea F. Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2009. "Banks, Distances and Firms' Financing Constraints," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(2), pages 261-307.
  6. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  7. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1999. "GMM estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," IFS Working Papers W99/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  10. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2010. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 BC?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 65-97, July.
  11. 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.
  12. Botticini, Maristella, 2000. "A Tale of “Benevolent” Governments: Private Credit Markets, Public Finance, and the Role of Jewish Lenders in Medieval and Renaissance Italy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 164-189, March.
  13. Benfratello, Luigi & Schiantarelli, Fabio & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2006. "Banks and Innovation: Microeconometric Evidence on Italian Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 2032, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Pietro Alessandrini & Andrea F. Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2007. "Banks, distances, and financing constraints for firms," Proceedings 1053, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  16. Ross Levine, 2004. "Finance and Growth: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ross Levine, 1998. "The legal environment, banks, and long-run economic growth," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Aug, pages 596-620.
  18. Ruben Durante, 2010. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic origins of social Trust: an empirical Investigation," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
  19. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  20. Douglas W. Diamond, 1996. "Financial intermediation as delegated monitoring: a simple example," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 51-66.
  21. Alesina, Alberto F & Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2011. "On the origins of gender roles: women and the plough," CEPR Discussion Papers 8418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-86, June.
  23. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2000. "Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending," NBER Working Papers 7685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "The Cost of Banking Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5864, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Ilke Van Beveren, 2007. "Total factor productivity estimation: A practical review," LICOS Discussion Papers 18207, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  26. Valerie R. Bencivenga & Bruce D. Smith, 1991. "Financial Intermediation and Endogenous Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 195-209.
  27. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. Marcello Bofondi & Giorgio Gobbi, 2004. "Bad Loans and Entry into Local Credit Markets," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 509, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  29. Felice Emanuele, 2005. "Il valore aggiunto regionale. Una stima per il 1891 e per il 1911 e alcune elaborazioni di lungo periodo (1891-1971)," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 273-314.
  30. Riccardo Lucchetti & Luca Papi & Alberto Zazzaro, 2001. "Banks´ Inefficiency and Economic Growth A Micro-Macro Approach," Development Working Papers 153, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  31. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2007. "From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 885-926, 09.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1026. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Margaret Nash)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.