To read this content please select one of the options below:

Agricultural credit and economic growth in rural areas

Valentina Hartarska (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States)
Denis Nadolnyak (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States)
Xuan Shen (Regions Bank, Birmingham, Alabama, United States)

Agricultural Finance Review

ISSN: 0002-1466

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




In this paper, the authors set out to establish if there is a link between finance and economic growth in rural areas. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relation between credit by major lenders in rural areas – commercial banks and Farm Credit System (FCS) institutions – and economic growth for the period 1991-2010.


The motivation for this work comes from empirical studies showing a link between economic development and financial system development as well as from work which highlights the positive role of long-term finance provided by banks. The authors use two alternative panel data sets and fixed effects models to estimate the causal effect of credit supply (with lagged explanatory variables) on agricultural GDP growth per rural resident.


The authors find a positive association between agricultural lending and agricultural GDP growth per rural resident with additional billion in loans (about a third of the actual average) associated with 7-10 percent higher state growth rate with this association stronger during the 1990s. Regional data confirm these results. The results point to a positive link between credit and economic growth in rural areas during that period, attributable to the lending by FCS institutions and by commercial banks.

Research limitations/implications

Data availability limits the scope of this paper. The authors use state level balance sheet data available for the 1991-2003 period and annual data for 2003-2010 period. An additional regional data set is constructed for 1991-2010 with more aggregated data for the ten USDA agricultural production regions. The small number of panels limits the ability to use more sophisticated econometric models and the choice of dependent variables that captures economic growth.

Practical implications

By provides evidence that agricultural finance and in particular lending contribute significantly to the growth of US agriculture, this paper contributes to the policy debate on weather support for agricultural finance initiatives is justified.


The authors are not aware of another study that has linked agricultural lending by commercial banks and FCS institutions to growth in rural areas in the USA.



An earlier version of this paper was presented in the Finance Section of the 2014 annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Minneapolis Minnesota, July 27-29. Paper presented at the AFM and CRANET sections organized session “Role of Credit in Economic Performance in Rural Areas” at the AAEA Annual Meetings in Minneapolis, 2014.


Hartarska, V., Nadolnyak, D. and Shen, X. (2015), "Agricultural credit and economic growth in rural areas", Agricultural Finance Review, Vol. 75 No. 3, pp. 302-312.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles