Lessons and Challenges for CESEE Countries and a Modern Europe
Edited by Ewald Nowotny, Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald and Helene Schuberth
Asli Demirgüç-Kunt and Ross Levine
This chapter surveys possible factors explaining cross-country variation in the development and stability of the financial system. Specifically, it distinguishes between the (1) policy view, which focuses on specific policies and institutions to strengthen and deepen the financial sector; (2) the political economy view, which regards the level and structure of financial development and the underlying institutional infrastructure a function of political decision processes; and (3) the historical view, which focuses on exogenous determinants of financial sector development related to geographic endowments and history and the persistence in the level and structure of financial systems.
Do efficient financial markets and institutions promote economic growth? Have they done so in the past? In this chapter the author surveys a large and diverse historical literature that explores the connection between finance and growth in US history. The US financial system was important in mobilizing savings, allocating capital, exerting corporate control, and mitigating borrower opportunism. A wide variety of intermediaries characterized US finance – commercial banks, savings banks, building and loan associations, mortgage companies, investment banks and securities markets – which emerged to fill specific financial niches, compete with and complement the activities of existing intermediaries. The weight of the evidence is consistent with the interpretation that finance facilitated and encouraged growth. Despite the breadth and diversity of approaches, there remain many potentially fruitful lines of further inquiry.
Thorsten Beck and W. Scott Frame
This chapter discusses financial innovation fueled by technological change over the past decades in both developing and developed countries. We discuss the positive growth effects but also possible fragility risks from different types of financial innovations. We critically review the experience with different product, process and organizational innovations.
Following independence, the government of Brazil borrowed repeatedly without default. Not only did it obtain long-term loans in London, it defied “original sin” by borrowing significant amounts from the domestic market. Most of the internal debt was in paper currency without a fixed maturity, and by the 1850s was larger than the external debt. Parliamentary authority over fiscal and debt policy helped to credibly commit the government to repay. Commitment did not, however, lead to a financial revolution. On the contrary, private interest rates remained high even as the government’s cost of borrowing fell. Highly centralized political institutions concentrated authority in the hands of a narrow political elite, which restricted incorporation in general and the creation of banks in particular. The result was successful sovereign borrowing with financial underdevelopment.