Is Government Ownership of Banks Really Harmful to Growth?
We show that previous results suggesting that government ownership of banks is associated with lower long run growth rates are not robust to adding more “fundamental” determinants of economic growth. We also present new cross-country evidence for 1995- 2007 which suggests that, if anything, government ownership of banks has been robustly associated with higher long run growth rates. While acknowledging that cross-country results need not imply causality, we nevertheless provide a conceptual framework, drawing on the global financial crisis of 2008-09, which explains why under certain circumstances government owned banks could be more conducive to economic growth than privately-owned banks.
We show that previous results suggesting that government ownership of banks has a negative effect on economic growth are not robust to adding more 'fundamental' determinants of economic grwoth, such as institutions. We also present regression results from a more recent period (1995-2007) which suggest that, if anything, government ownership of banks has been associated with higher long run growth rates, even after controlling for institutions and other variables suggested by the growth literature. Drawing on the current global financial crisis, we provide a conceptual framework which explains why under certain circumstances government owned banks could have a greater effect on economic growth than privately-owned banks.
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