The state of development of the financial sector does not change monotonically over time. In particular, by most measures, countries were more financially developed in 1913 than in 1980 and only recently have they surpassed their 1913 levels. To explain these changes, we propose an interest group theory of financial development where incumbents oppose financial development because it breeds competition. The theory predicts that incumbents’ opposition will be weaker when an economy allows both cross-border trade and capital flows. This theory can go some way in accounting for the cross-country differences in, and the time-series variation of, financial development.
Journal of Financial Economics – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2003
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