Growing up with Finance: Special Economic Zoning and Household Finances in China

Money and a house on either sides of weighing scales
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Tuesday 21 March 2023

02:00 PM - 04:00 PM



Event details

The event will engage the audience in the novel agendas of financial sector development and the conditions that are conducive to endogenous economic growth, such as financial knowledge and the socialisation of finance.


We examine the effect of early life exposure to local financial markets using the reform of special economic zones and coastal cities (SEZ) in China that led to differential development of financial markets across Chinese cities.

We find that individuals who were still at school during the time and after the reforms are more likely to access finance from formal financial institutions, compared to a control group of individuals born in non-SEZ regions and those who were at post-schooling age during the reforms. Those exposed to local financial institutions early in life are less likely to obtain finance from informal sources and have lower informal-to-total finance ratios. Moreover, our difference-in-difference estimates reveal a large significant impact of growing up with finance on financial market participation, in terms of stock and risky-asset ownership and holdings, as well as on portfolio diversification.

The effects are stronger for individuals who grew up and currently live in SEZ regions, compared to those who moved there from other parts of China. Our inquiry suggests that higher financial literacy moderates the effect of early life exposure to financial institutions among individuals living in SEZ regions. The moderating effect is higher than that of financial risk tolerance, peer effects on social interactions, and filial piety, inter alia.


Prof. Georgios Panos (M) is a Professor of Finance at the University of Glasgow working on issues of responsible finance and business. He has been voted at a Poets & Quants Top 40 Under 40 MBA Professor for the year 2020. His research and impact agenda have gained him renowned expertise on household and personal finance at the EU level and internationally. He has served at the World Bank, working extensively on issues of responsible development finance, and is still engaged in policy-relevant research with the institution.

His early influential work on the behavioural determinants of business entry, performance and failure have been published in the Journal of Financial Economics. His most recent work received €1.6 million funding from the EU via the Horizon 2020 project “PROFIT: PROmoting FInancial awareness and sTability”. This work led to the generation of an impactful open democracy online platform for financial education of the wider public, in collaboration with responsible finance institutions and corporations.

He has mentored and supported the employability of a large number of undergraduate and graduate students and alumni, served in consecutive roles as postgraduate and undergraduate programmes director. He was the first professor to introduce novel courses in responsible banking and development finance at the Adam Smith Business School and present scholarly work on the educational curriculum in financial technology (FinTech). The latter led to the generation of a new curriculum and a most innovative MSc Financial Technology programme at the School.

His current works on financial technology, financial literacy, financial and social inclusion are most influential in informing and updating these most modern and vital agendas of policy and business practice. He serves at the editorial teams of three prestigious journals in finance, economics, and management, namely as an associate editor at the European Journal of Finance, and at the editorial boards of the Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal, and the Journal of General Management.