March 2006

IZA DP No. 2032: Banks and Innovation: Microeconometric Evidence on Italian Firms

published in:Journal of Financial Economics, 2008, 90 (2), 197 - 217

In this paper we investigate the effect of local banking development on firms' innovative activities, using a rich data set on innovation for a large number of Italian firms over the 1990's. There is evidence that banking development affects the probability of process innovation, particularly for small firms and for firms in high(er) tech sectors and in sectors more dependent upon external finance. The evidence for product innovation is weaker. There is also some evidence that banking development reduces the cash flow sensitivity of fixed investment spending, particularly for small firms, and that it increases the probability they will engage in R&D.