Bank laws, economic growth and early banking in Latin America: 1840-1920

Luis Felipe Zegarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This article examines the impact of legal and economic factors on the growth of commercial banking in Latin America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Using annual data for five countries for the period 1840-1920, this article shows that growth in exports had a significant effect on the growth of bank liabilities (deposits plus note issues). For the most part, changes in banking laws did not have a significant effect on the development of banking. This latter result likely reflects heterogeneity in the meaning of changes, as well as the potential dominance of de facto political factors in shaping the importance of de jure legal changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-119
Number of pages19
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bank laws
  • Banking sector
  • Latin America


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