Free Banking and Bank Entry in Latin America

Luis Felipe Zegarra

CENTRUM Católica’s Working Paper No. 2012-09-0006



This article analyzes the impact of free-banking on the banking sector in Latin America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I use data for seven countries to compare the entry of banks and the growth of bank output prior and after the enactment of free-banking laws to determine whether free-banking (by establishing general requirements for granting note-issuance rights) lowered barriers to entry. The results show that in most Latin American countries the adoption of free-banking laws did not cause in the short run an increase in bank entry and in bank output growth.


View Full Text