Cover of EconPol Working Paper 35

The Political Economy of Multilateral Lending to European Regions

Zareh Asatryan (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim), Annika Havlik (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim, University of Mannheim)

European regions which have representatives on the board of directors at the European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest multilateral lending and borrowing institution, are more likely to receive loans than those regions in Europe which aren’t represented. Researchers Zareh Asatryan (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim) and Annika Havlik (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim, University of Mannheim) collected information on the regions of origin of around 500 national representatives at the EIB’s Board of Directors (the decisive body for loan approvals) since its foundation in 1959. They found that a representative's appointment increases the probability of their sub-national region receiving a loan by 17 percentage points. This “home-bias" effect is particularly present in large loans financing infrastructure projects.

Abstract

We study the political economy of allocation decisions within a major state investment bank. Our focus is the European Investment Bank (EIB) - "The Bank of the EU" - which is the largest multilateral lending (and borrowing) institution in the world. We collect (and make available) information on the regions of origin of about 500 national representatives at the EIB's Board of Directors - the decisive body for loan approvals - since its foundation in 1959 and show that a representative's appointment increases the probability of her sub-national region receiving a loan by about 17 percentage points. This "home-bias" effect is driven by large loans financing infrastructure projects. We provide several pieces of evidence, which are consistent with the hypothesis that home-bias lending may lead to resource misallocation, however we cannot conclusively demonstrate this case of
economic inefficiency.

Citation

Zareh Asatryan, Annika Havlik: The Political Economy of Multilateral Lending to European Regions, EconPol Working Paper 35, November 2019