A significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises stay disconnected from credit markets even after they become formal firms – a state that can be characterised as ‘financial informality’. Access to credit is valuable for firms with substantial growth opportunities, but it can become more difficult to hide revenues from the tax authorities. This column, originally posted on the GlobalDev blog, explores the characteristics of firms and local credit markets that affect this trade-off in Egypt – and potential policies for greater financial inclusion of unbanked firms and those discouraged from applying for loans to fund investment.
Paving dirt roads and building highway networks have unsurprisingly been shown to produce substantial economic gains, but what is the impact on domestic trade from improving existing road networks? Using spatially disaggregated data on major capacity upgrades of existing road networks and domestic transactions in Turkey, this column, originally published at VoxEU, estimates a large positive impact of reduced travel times on trade and regional employment, and long-run aggregate real income gains of 2-3%.
Can negative oil price shocks raise the risk of internal conflict in oil-dependent economies? Not really: as this column reports, evidence from 144 countries over the period 1991-2015 indicates that the destructive effects are mitigated when informal activities are a bigger part of the whole economy. The results imply the helpful role of the shadow economy in keeping political systems stable under rising economic pressures.