Corruption and Bank Conduct: International Evidence

Posted: 18 Jan 2010

See all articles by Rajeev K. Goel

Rajeev K. Goel

Illinois State University - Department of Economics

Iftekhar Hasan

Fordham University ; Bank of Finland; University of Sydney

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 18, 2010


Using recent cross-national data on more than 100 nations, this study investigates the financial effects of economy-wide institutional quality (corruption) on various bank activities: (i) the ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans; (ii) the capital-to-assets ratio; (iii) the liquid-reserves-to-assets ratio; and (iv) interest rate spread. In the context of the banking and financial sectors, corruption can proxy for a number of exogenous influences, including institutional quality and riskiness in a country. Other things being the same, monitoring and enforcement institutions are particularly weaker in more corrupt nations (see Becker and Stigler, 1974). This might imply lax monitoring of perpetrators of financial fraud or more lenient punishment in these countries. Corruption also increases the chances of apprehending innocent people. Furthermore, bad institutional quality can increase the risk of bank defaults when bank managers in corrupt nations view the probability of apprehension as partly endogenous (see Lambsdorff and Teksoz, 2004). Banking-sector institutions therefore address their transparency and governance guidelines by taking account of sector-specific factors. Notwithstanding significant qualitative and quantitative differences, the evidence reveals that greater corruption is associated with higher- nonperforming loans, capital, liquidity, and interest rate spreads. While membership in the European Union has a stabilizing effect, however, the central-bank autonomy does not matter. These findings are robust to an alternate corruption measure and to potential endogeneity. Additionally, bank-based economies have a lower capital-asset ratio and lower interest rate spreads, while financially underdeveloped nations tend to have higher liquid reserves and higher interest rate spreads. The paper also discusses policy implications.

Keywords: corruption, interest rate, nonperforming loans, liquid reserves, central bank autonomy, bank-based economies

JEL Classification: K42, G20, G30

Suggested Citation

Goel, Rajeev K. and Hasan, Iftekhar, Corruption and Bank Conduct: International Evidence (January 18, 2010). Finlawmetrics 2010 Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Rajeev K. Goel (Contact Author)

Illinois State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Iftekhar Hasan

Fordham University ( email )

NEW YORK, NY 10023
United States

Bank of Finland ( email )

P.O. Box 160
Helsinki 00101

University of Sydney ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Sydney, NSW 2006

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics