Political career concerns and bank lending in China

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Emerging Markets Review


This study examines how politician's career concerns affect the bank loans using a sample of bank branches at the county-level in China. We use politician tenure to measure an important dimension of the politician incentives to intervene in the local economy, which is determined by their career concerns about perceived promotion probability. We find that there is a curvilinear relationship between politician tenure and bank loans (i.e., reversed U-shape). We also construct a promotion pressure index and document a positive relationship between this promotion index and bank loans. These results are more significant for banks located in counties with underdeveloped institutions or weak government capacity, and those with political ties. These results support the view that politicians have strong incentives to utilize local banks to promote local economic growth if it is also consistent with their private goals, especially in the environment with significant government ownership in banking systems.

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