Financial Development and Economic Growth in Korea
Does financial development contribute to economic growth? The literature finds that an expansion in financial resources is useful for economic growth if the degree of financial development is under a certain threshold; otherwise, the expansion is detrimental to growth. Almost every published study, however, considers country-panel data. Accordingly, the results are not directly applicable to the Korean economy. By examining Korean time-series data, this paper finds that there is an inverse U-shaped relationship between the per capita real GDP growth rate and private credit (as a percentage of nominal GDP)―a well-known measure of quantitative financial development, where the threshold is 171.5%. This paper also finds that private credit is positively associated with economic growth if the share of household credit out of private credit is less than 46.9%; otherwise, private credit is negatively associated with economic growth. As of 2016, the ratio of private credit to GDP and the ratio of household credit to private credit are both higher than the corresponding thresholds, which implies that policymakers should place more emphasis on qualitative financial development than on a quantitative expansion of financial resources.
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