DP15612 Banks, Political Capital, and Growth

Author(s): Thomas Lambert, Wolf Wagner, Eden Quxian Zhang
Publication Date: December 2020
Keyword(s): Campaign Contributions, close elections, corporate lending, creative destruction, economic growth, Political Connections, productivity
JEL(s): D72, E65, G18, G21
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15612

We show that politically connected banks influence economic activity. We exploit shocks to individual banks' political capital following close US congressional elections. We find that regional output growth increases when banks active in the region experience an average positive shock to their political capital. The effect is economically large, but temporary, and is due to lower restructuring in the economy rather than increased productivity. We show that eased lending conditions (especially for riskier firms) can account for the growth effect. Our analysis is a first attempt to directly link the politics and finance literature with the finance and growth literature.