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Economic Development and Relationship- Based Financing

October 28, 2014

Formal finance involves the costly acquisition of information about distant entrepreneurs, while relationship-based finance allows financiers to fund a narrow circle of close entrepreneurs without acquiring costly information. In developing economies with low capital endowments, relationship-based finance is optimal because only high-quality entrepreneurs receive funding. However, formal finance may emerge in equilibrium, and it has the only effect of shifting rents from entrepreneurs to financiers. In more-developed economies with higher capital endowments, formal finance becomes necessary to prevent funding of low-quality entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, relationship-based financing may persist in equilibrium, and lowquality close entrepreneurs are funded even when there are high-quality distant entrepreneurs.