Working Paper

Fiscal Stimulus and Commercial Bank Lending Under COVID-19


Abstract: We investigate the implications of extra-normal government spending under the COVID-19 pandemic for commercial bank lending growth between 2019Q4 and 2020Q4 in a large sample of over 3000 banks from 71 countries. We control for pre-pandemic structural factors, bank characteristics and government debt. To address the likely endogeneity of government assistance under the pandemic, we instrument for extra-normal spending using disparities in pre-existing national political characteristics for identification. Our results indicate that while higher government spending was associated with higher commercial bank lending, higher public debt going into the crisis weakened the expansionary effects of higher spending on bank lending at economically and statistically significant levels. Moreover, this sensitivity is higher among weaker banks, suggesting that bank lending responses to government spending under COVID-19 reflected the perceived implications of such spending for government assistance of the banking sector going forward. Our results are robust to a variety of sensitivity analyses, including perturbations in specification, sample, and estimation methodology.

Keywords: fiscal multiplier; COVID-19; bank lending;

JEL Classification: E62; F34; G21; H30;

https://doi.org/10.24148/wp2022-04

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Part of Series: Working Paper Series

Publication Date: 2022-02-23

Number: 2022-04

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