Research Interests

  • Corporate Finance
  • Political Economy
  • Financial Intermediation

Working Papers

Political Interference and Crowding Out in Bank Lending
 I provide novel evidence on a real cost of political interference on banks. Analyzing staggered state elections in India, I show that politically motivated increased bank lending to farmers before elections crowds out lending to manufacturing firms. These lending distortions are larger where farmers have more political weight and where incumbents have more influence over banks. Reduced bank credit forces manufacturing firms to use up cash reserves, cut production, and operate at lower factor utilization. Overall, my results suggest that preferential lending to politically important sectors can lead to costly crowding-out of real activity in other productive sectors.

How did the Big Banks Grow Bigger? [Manuscript available upon request] 
with Indraneel Chakraborty and Mark Flannery
Abstract: Conventional wisdom holds that big banks have grown by mergers. We investigate the growth in large banks by expanding the time period to include the last two decades. We find that deposit growth has been fueled half by mergers and half by faster organic growth. While the importance of mergers is expected, this paper documents faster organic growth of large banks, especially after the crisis, despite recent efforts to control the size of systemically important financial institutions. Deposit concentration at the hands of a few large banks has important consequences for competition in the local deposit market. We show that large banks do not respond to competition in the local deposit market through their deposit rates, but do respond to the presence of other large banks. Consequently, the significant growth of a few large banks on the national scale has made them less responsive to competition in the local deposit market, thereby having adverse effects on consumer welfare.

Prime (Information) Brokerage 
with Kevin MullallySugata Ray and Yuehua Tang
Abstract: We document a channel of information flow from prime brokers to their hedge fund clients. We examine whether hedge funds make informed trades on the stocks of firms to which their prime broker’s affiliated bank initiates a syndicated loan. We find that these connected hedge funds make abnormally large trades in quarters prior to loan announcement, compared to their own trades in other stocks or to the trades in the borrowing firm’ stock by unconnected hedge funds. More importantly, we find that the connected hedge funds’ trades outperform other trades by 2.1%–4.0% on an annualized basis. Lastly, the outperformance is stronger for hedge funds that can generate more revenue for their prime broker.

 Work in Progress

The Mysterious Decline of Secured Debt
with Efraim Benmelech and Raghuram Rajan