The work, which is published in the Journal of Development Economics, shows that if financial regulation is ineffective depositors may prefer to place their money in government owned banks, which are frequently more trusted than private banks.
Professor Demetriades, of the Department of Economics at the University of Leicester, said: "If government owned banks are privatised prematurely, depositors will shift their funds not to private banks but to alternative assets that are deemed safer, such as domestic or foreign currency or real assets (e.g. houses, gold or consumer durables). This, in turn, means that the ability of the banking system to provide credit to businesses and households will be impaired.
"Moreover, rapid outflows of funds from one bank can create panic and may cause more widespread bank runs due to insufficient information and lack of confidence in regulation."
Professor Demetriades added that, naturally, there are concerns that governments may be unable to run nationalised banks efficiently. He states: "If so, this can well have a negative impact on long run growth. In the words of Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf "…crisis ridden private banking is bad; government monopoly banking is still worse' ."
Follow on research by Professor Demetriades and his co-authors suggests that such concerns may be unwarranted. This research, published in the University of Leicester's Economics Discussion Papers, shows that in recent years government ownership of banks has, if anything, been robustly associated with higher long run growth rates. Specifically, the researchers, who utilise data from a large number of countries for 1995-2007, find that – other things equal - countries with high degrees of government ownership of banking have grown faster than countries with few or no government owned banks.
The researchers provide a novel political economy explanation for their findings. They suggest that politicians may actually prefer banks not to be in the public sector. When banks are in theory controlled by their shareholders, in practice they are more likely to be controlled by their top managers because shareholders are typically not well informed. Conditions of weak corporate governance in banks provide fertile ground for quick enrichment for both bankers and politicians - at the expense ultimately of the taxpayer. In such circumstances politicians can offer bankers a system of weak regulation in exchange for party political contributions, positions on the boards of banks or lucrative consultancies. Activities that are more likely to provide both sides with quick returns are the more speculative ones, especially if they are sufficiently opaque as not to be well understood by the shareholders e.g. 'financial engineering' including complex derivatives trading and securitization of sub-prime loans.
Government owned banks, on the other hand, have less freedom to engage in speculative strategies that result in quick enrichment for bank insiders and politicians. Moreover, politicians tend to be held accountable for wrongdoings or bad management in the public sector but are typically only indirectly blamed for the misdemeanours of private banks – it is the shareholders who are expected to prevent these but lack of transparency and weak governance stops them from doing so in practice. On the other hand, when it comes to banks that are in the public sector, democratic accountability of politicians is more likely to discourage them from engaging in mutually beneficial speculation. In such banks, top managers are more likely to be compelled to focus on the more mundane job of financing real businesses and economic growth.
For more details about the research contact: Professor Panicos O. Demetriades (Tel: + 44 (0) 116-2522835 or +44 (0) 116-2522887, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)ESRC Press Office:
Andrianova, S., Demetriades, P. and Shortland, A. (2009), "Is Government Ownership of Banks Really Harmful to Growth?", University of Leicester Discussion Paper in Economics 09/11.
2. 28 January: Word Economy & Finance Research programme conference
To mark the end of the World Economy and Finance Research Programme, this conference will bring together academics and people from government, politics, business, finance, media, NGOs, and the 'third sector'. The plan is to have three sessions each covering a topic of current interest, related to the work of the WEF Programme, each with three or four speakers, some from WEF, and others from the world at large. The presentations should be easily accessible, of general interest, and range widely over the issues; the sessions will include plenty of time for general discussion. For more information please see: World Economy and Finance
3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk
4. University of Leicester: A member of the 1994 Group of universities that shares a commitment to research excellence, high quality teaching and an outstanding student experience. http://www2.le.ac.uk/about/facts
Pressoffice | EurekAlert!
Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
24.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
24.09.2018 | Information Technology
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy