Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2011

What Do Development Banks Do? Evidence from Brazil, 2002-2009

by Sergio G. Lazzarini, Aldo Musacchio, Rodrigo Bandeira-de-Mello and Rosilene Marcon


While some authors view development banks as an important tool to alleviate capital constraints in scarce credit markets and unlock productive investments, others see those banks as conduits of cheap loans to politically connected firms that could obtain capital elsewhere. We test these contrasting views using data on loans and equity allocations in the period 2002-2009 by the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), one of the largest development banks in the world. In our fixed effect regressions, we find that BNDES' allocations do not seem to affect firm-level operational performance and investment decisions, although they do reduce firm-level cost of capital due to the governmental subsidies accompanying loans. Next, examining the selection process through which BNDES' capital is allocated to firms, we find that BNDES apparently selects firms with good operational performance but also provides more capital to firms with political connections (measured as campaign donations to politicians who won an election). Yet, we do not find evidence that BNDES is systematically bailing out firms. In general, BNDES appears to be generally selecting firms with capacity to repay their loans, as regular commercial banks would do.

Keywords: Cost of Capital; Credit; Equity; Banks and Banking; Financing and Loans; Investment; Government and Politics; Data and Data Sets; Resource Allocation; Markets; Performance; Banking Industry; Brazil;


Lazzarini, Sergio G., Aldo Musacchio, Rodrigo Bandeira-de-Mello, and Rosilene Marcon. "What Do Development Banks Do? Evidence from Brazil, 2002-2009." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 12-047, December 2011.