Zhibo Tan, Shang-Jin Wei, Yang Yao, and Yue Zhao*
No. E2014003 August 2014
Abstract: We explore the effects of a country’s financial structure on its corporate savings and current account. A financial system that relies relatively more on banks and less on the capital market presents more difficulties for small and medium-sized enterprises to access external finance. These firms find it necessary to accumulate more savings on their own. As a result, countries that have a less developed capital market are more likely to run current account surpluses (or smaller current account deficits). Using panel data of 66 countries for the period 1990–2007, we find consistent and robust evidence in favor of this hypothesis. Further explorations based on firm-level data reveal that firms, especially smaller firms, in economies with relatively underdeveloped capital markets do save significantly more than their counterparts in countries with relatively more developed capital markets.
Key Words: Current Account Imbalances; Financial Structure; Corporate Savings
JEL classification: F32; G15; G32