Blog » One Size Does Not Fit All: Cooperative Banking and Income Inequality
The re-regulation wave following the global financial crisis is putting pressure on local community and cooperative banks. In this paper, the authors show that cooperative banking can play a pivotal role in reducing income inequalities in local communities. By analyzing Italian local (provincial) credit markets over the 2001-2011 period, the authors find that cooperative banks mitigate income inequality more than their commercial counterparts. This effect remains significant when the authors account for the pervasiveness of relationship lending in the provinces, suggesting that it is the specific nature and orientation of cooperative banks, rather than their lending technologies, that improve income distribution. The impact of cooperative banking on inequality appears to be mainly channeled by reduced migratory flows and lower business turnover.