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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Koen Schoors

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June 2012Does Finance Cause Growth? Evidence from the Origins of Banking in Russia
with Daniel Berkowitz, Mark Hoekstra: w18139
This paper examines the effect of banking on economic growth in modern Russia. To overcome simultaneity and selection, we exploit regional banking variation induced by the creation of "specialized banks" (spetsbanks) in the last years of the Soviet Union (1988-1991). Consistent with the qualitative work of Joel Hellman [1993] and Juliet Johnson [2000], we show that these reforms generated an ideal natural experiment in that the concentration of spetsbanks is jointly uncorrelated with 15 predictors of future growth, including pre-banking income, education, anti-market sentiment, institutional quality, and government interference in the economy. Results indicate that while the presence of one additional spetsbank per million inhabitants increased total within-state lending to private firm...

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