L. Weill publishes in Journal of Comparative Economics


Laurent Weill, full professor at EMSBS and director of HuManiS, recently published an article in the Journal of Comparative Economics [CNRS cat. 1, HCERES cat. A, AJG 3].

This article is entitled “Staying on top: Political cycles in private bank lending” and was written in collaboration with Zuzana Fungáčová (BOFIT), Koen Schoors (UGent), Laura Solanko (MGIMO University).


The incentives for state-owned banks to boost lending before elections in order to improve the re-election odds of incumbent politicians are well recognized. We hypothesize that political influence on lending behavior in electoral autocracies extends to all banks, irrespective of ownership or political connections. Employing monthly data on individual banks, we consider the lending behavior of Russian banks in the four presidential elections held between 2004 and 2019. We find that both state-owned and private banks increased their lending before these presidential elections. Controlling for economic fluctuations, the pre-election lending surge is followed by a deterioration of loan quality the following year. We show that private banks are rewarded for boosting their lending before an election with government deposits after the election. Our findings support the view that the authorities in electoral autocracies such as Russia have the capacity and means to influence lending of private and state-owned banks in pursuit of favorable election outcomes.

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