Working Paper
Loan Processing Costs and Information Asymmetries-Implications for Financial Sector Development and Economic Growth

The paper presents a model in which credit-constrained firms might delay the adoption of new and more productive technologies because of the very high external financing costs they face. Our point of departure is that the efficiency of the banking system can have a profound impact on real resource and investment allocation not only directly, by reducing the amount of resources channeled to the credit market, but also indirectly by affecting entrepreneurs’ investment decisions. Along these lines of reasoning we develop a model of information asymmetries in the credit market in which high costs of processing bank loan applications might obstruct investments in high-tech projects and favour, instead, low-return, self-financed investments in mature sectors. The result is that these kinds of costs have a negative impact on the average capital productivity and on the rate of economic growth. In specific circumstances, the combination of these costs and the dynamics of capital accumulation can be such that the economy incurs in a ‘technology trap’, in which new technologies, even if readily available, will never be adopted because of high frictions and inefficiencies in the credit market, a situation that seems to be relevant to many developing countries.