NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Financial Obstacles and Inter-Regional Flow of Funds

Benjamin Moll, Robert M. Townsend, Victor Zhorin

NBER Working Paper No. 19618
Issued in November 2013
NBER Program(s):   DEV

Motivated by evidence from the micro data that the type of financial frictions faced by individuals varies across regions within countries, we develop a general equilibrium framework that encompasses different micro financial underpinnings. We use it to compare the implications of two concrete frictions, limited commitment and moral hazard, and argue that these have potentially very different implications at both the macro and the micro level. Aggregate productivity is depressed in the two regimes but for completely different reasons: under limited commitment capital is misallocated across heterogeneous firms. In contrast, under moral hazard, productivity is endogenously lower at the firm level because entrepreneurs exert suboptimal effort. Occupational choice, productivity and firm size distribution, income and wealth inequality, and the speed of individual transitions also differ markedly. We also present an economy with different frictions in different regions. Such mixture regimes turn out to be different from simple convex combinations of the pure moral hazard and pure limited commitment regimes, and they produce interregional patterns of aggregate income, capital and labor flows and external finance that resemble rural-urban patterns observed in the data.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19618

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