The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper studies whether the policies that, over the past decades, liberalized bankingsystems around the world have resulted in deeper credit markets. To measure banking sectorreforms we use a new index that tracks policy changes in five separate areas for 91 countriesover 1973-2005. We find that reforms have led to financial deepening, but only in countrieswith institutions that place checks and balances on political power. We interpret this asevidence of a complementarity between financial sector reforms and political institutions thatprotect property rights. Other country characteristics do not seem to significantly influencethe effect of banking reforms on financial development.