Government-Initiated Public Banks (G-Pub) Data

As part of my dissertation, I am constructing an original dataset on the emergence of government-initiated public banks ("G-Pubs"). I intend to make portions of the data available in the course of the peer-review publication process. I am sharing a brief description of the data and descriptive summary here to elicit awareness and feedback among other scholars and practitioners. Please contact me with any information important to keeping the dataset consistent and up to date in future versions.

Please see my paper (under review), "An old novel idea: Introducing G-Pub, an original dataset of public bank formation," for more information about my conceptual framework, data collection process, and initial empirical findings. The supplementary information (SI) for the paper includes archival qualitative data pertaining to early, multilingual uses of the term "public banks" or "public banker", based on searches of Google Books (see Section B of the SI).

Dataset overview

The G-Pub data builds on several existing databases and datasets of public banks, as well as uses qualitative sources. It includes over 1,200 banks, 191 countries, and spans the period 1401-2021. The sample selection was guided by my conceptualization of public banks as: banks formed or taken over by a government in which the government maintains a degree of control through management or ownership. See my working paper (link above) detailing this conceptual framework, including a definition of "government" and corresponding scope conditions. All banks were verified according to this conceptual framework. The table below summarizes the data sources.

Whereas prior datasets provide national-level measures of government ownership as a percent of the banking sector (La Porta et al. 2002; Barth et al. 2013), or a list of bank names with static institutional measures (e.g. bank size), this dataset adds fields to allow for cross-sectional, firm-level analysis of G-Pub emergence over time. These fields include:

  • Year of formation

  • Method of formation

  • Year of closure

  • Method of closure

  • Bank type and subtypes (see supplementary information for details on the categorization scheme)

  • National/sub-national government formation

  • Brief historical background

Descriptive summary

The figure below portrays the formation and closure of all G-Pubs in the dataset over time and by region. The plot depicts shading between G-Pub start and end years; darker shading indicates a greater number of banks active at one time. Broadly, it shows the global emergence of G-Pubs as corresponding to state and financial market formation beginning in 15th century Europe, diffusing along with state and market expansion to other regions up through the neoliberal era.