The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Only a minority of countries have succeeded in establishing a developed financial system, despite widespread financial liberalization. Confronted with this finding, the political institutions view claims that sustained financial deepening is most likely to take place in institutional environments where governments effectively impose constraints on their own powers in order to create trust. This paper identifies over 200 post-1960 episodes of accelerations in financial development in a large cross-section of countries. We find that the likelihood of an acceleration leading to sustained financial development increases greatly in environments that have high-quality political institutions.