Almost 25 years after the empirical finance and growth literature started with simple cross-country regressions (King and Levine, 1993), this field of research seems far from saturated. Aggregate cross-country regressions
have given space to carefully identified studies using observational or experimental micro-level data. Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Ross Levine and I put together a one day conference at the World Bank in Washington DC last week to highlight some of the recent work in this area but also point to open reseach and policy questions. Almost a decade after the Global Financial Crisis and seven years into
the Eurozone crisis, the role of the financial sector is challenged in many advanced countries, while many developing countries struggle with the right policy mix to deepen and broaden their financial systems. Across the globe, however, and this came
out again and again in the different sessions is the (often unhealthy) influence of politics in both development and efficiency of the financial system.