Banking on politics: When former high-ranking politicians become bank directors

Matías Braun, Claudio Raddatz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


New data are presented for a large number of countries on how frequently former high-ranking politicians become bank directors. Politician-banker connections at this level are relatively rare, but their frequency is robustly correlated with many important characteristics of banks and institutions. At the micro level, banks that are politically connected are larger and more profitable than other banks, despite being less leveraged and having less risk. At the country level, this connectedness is strongly negatively related to economic development. Controlling for this, the analysis finds that the phenomenon is more prevalent where institutions are weaker and governments more powerful but less accountable. Bank regulation tends to be more pro-banker and the banking system less developed where connectedness is higher. A benign, publicinterest view is hard to reconcile with these patterns. Banking sector development, institutions, political economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlhq007
Pages (from-to)234-279
Number of pages46
JournalWorld Bank Economic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 23 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Matías Braun (matias.braun@uai.c) is director of strategy and partner at IM Trust and professor of economics and finance at Universidad Ibañez. Claudio Raddatz (corresponding author; craddatz@ is a senior economist at the World Bank in the Macroeconomics and Growth Unit of the Development Economics Research Group. Braun gratefully acknowledges financial support from Fondecyt Chile [grant number1060015.] 1. See Levine (2006) for an extensive review of the literature on the subject.


  • Banking
  • Economic development
  • Political economy
  • Politics
  • Regulatory framework


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