U.S. banking deregulation and self-employment: a differential impact on those in need
Starting in 1978, the U.S. banking sector was gradually deregulated in terms of restrictions on geographical expansion. This paper examines the impact of intrastate branching deregulation on (state-specific) self-employment income growth rate. If postreform changes in the banking structure led to improved lending to previously underserved (potential) businessmen, their self-employment income would accelerate, as banks are the prime source of finance for self-employment. Based on a simple model adopted from Evans and Jovanovic (1989), it is hypothesized that banking deregulation would particularly impact self-employment of discriminated against social groups. Consistent with the hypothesis, cross-state evidence suggests that the growth rate of self-employment income increased after reform, with the effect being more pronounced for women and non-white minorities at the low end of income distribution. Based on the obtained results, this paper suggests that more competitive banking environment after branching reform has mitigated prejudicial discrimination in lending. The analysis casts light on real effects of banking deregulation, on the effect of onsolidation in the banking sector on individuals targeted by the Equal Credit Opportunity (ECOA) and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), and on a function of competition in reducing discrimination.
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