Over the last decades, a large strand of finance and growth literature has provided ample evidence on the importance of financial deepening for economic development. Yet, recently, the focus of public debate has shifted towards the role of the financial system structure, an area in which empirical research remains relatively sparse and exploratory in nature. With this article, we aim to contribute to that debate by analysing the role the financial system structure plays in economic growth and risk. Focusing on stock markets and studying OECD economies over 1994–2013, we find that, ceteris paribus, financial systems with relatively larger stock markets facilitate economic growth and dampen economic risk. Our findings remain robust under application of instrumental variable and system generalized method of moments estimators, as well as when we use an alternative definition of stock market development, estimate median regressions, examine relatively high-frequency annual data, control for systemic banking crises or apply quadratic specifications. We find no such effect for private bond markets or private credit volume. Overall, our results suggest that financial system structure matters for the economic development of advanced economies and highlight the importance of a debate about the optimal structure of an economy’s financial system.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 21 Jun 2017
- Financial development
- Stock market
- Economic development