Wensi Xie

Department of Finance
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong


NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2017The Origins of Financial Development: How the African Slave Trade Continues to Influence Modern Finance
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin: w23800
We assess how the African slave trade—which had enduring effects on social cohesion—continues to influence financial systems. After showing that the intensity with which people were enslaved and exported from Africa during the 1400 – 1900 period helps account for overall financial development, household access to credit, and firm access to finance, we evaluate three potential mechanisms linking the slave trade to modern finance—information sharing institutions, trust in financial institutions, and the quality of legal institutions. We discover that the slave trade is strongly, negatively related to the information sharing and trust mechanisms but not to the legal mechanism.
August 2016Geographic Diversification and Banks’ Funding Costs
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin: w22544
We assess the impact of the geographic expansion of bank assets on the cost of banks’ interest-bearing liabilities. Existing research suggests that expansion can both intensify agency problems that increase funding costs and facilitate risk diversification that decreases funding costs. Using a newly developed identification strategy, we discover that the geographic expansion of banks across U.S. states lowered their funding costs, especially when banks are headquartered in states with lower macroeconomic covariance with the overall U.S. economy. The results are consistent with the view that geographic expansion offers large risk diversification opportunities that reduce funding costs.
April 2016Corporate Resilience to Banking Crises: The Roles of Trust and Trade Credit
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin: w22153
Are firms more resilient to systemic banking crises in economies with higher levels of social trust? Using firm-level data in 34 countries from 1990 through 2011, we find that liquidity-dependent firms in high-trust countries obtain more trade credit and suffer smaller drops in profits and employment during banking crises than similar firms in low-trust economies. The results are consistent with the view that when banking crises block the normal banking-lending channel, greater social trust facilitates access to informal finance, cushioning the effects of these crises on corporate profits and employment.
January 2015Spare Tire? Stock Markets, Banking Crises, and Economic Recoveries
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin: w20863
Do stock markets act as a “spare tire” during banking crises, providing an alternative corporate financing channel and mitigating the economic severity of banking crises? Using firm-level data in 36 countries from 1990 through 2011, we find that the adverse consequences of banking crises on firm profitability, employment, equity issuances, and investment efficiency are smaller in countries with stronger shareholder protection laws. These findings are not explained by the development of stock markets or financial institutions prior to the crises, the severity of the crisis, or overall economic, legal, and institutional development. The evidence is consistent with the view that stronger shareholder protection laws provide the legal infrastructure for stock markets to act as alternative sourc...

Published: Levine, Ross & Lin, Chen & Xie, Wensi, 2016. "Spare tire? Stock markets, banking crises, and economic recoveries," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 81-101. citation courtesy of

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