The Effect of Financial Repression & Enforcement on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

Antonio Antunes, Tiago Cavalcanti, Anne Villamil
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This paper studies the effect of financial repression and contract enforcement on en-trepreneurship and economic development. We construct and solve a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents, occupational choice and two financial frictions: intermediation costs and financial contract enforcement. Occupational choice and firm size are determined endogenously, and depend on agent type (wealth and ability) and the credit market frictions. The model shows that differences across countries in intermediation costs and enforcement generate di.erences in occupational choice, firm size, credit, output and inequality. Counterfactual experiments are performed for Latin American, European, transition and high growth Asian countries. We use empirical estimates of each countrys financial frictions, and United States values for all other parameters. The results allow us to isolate the quantitative e.ect of these financial frictions in explaining the performance gap between each country and the United States. The results depend critically on whether a general equilibrium factor price effect is operative, which in turn depends on whether financial markets are open or closed. This yields a positive policy prescription: If the goal is to maximize steady-state efficiency, financial reforms should be accompanied by measures to increase financial capital mobility.