The strange effect of bank robberies

Crime and leniency

“You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality,” noted Willy Sutton, the prolific American criminal whose tool of choice was a Tommy gun. No matter how likeable the larcenist, a stickup is invariably an unpleasant experience for employees. According to a new paper* by Paola Acevedo of Tilburg University and Steven Ongena of the University of Zurich, the trauma affects how bankers subsequently do business. The authors look at bank lending after heists in Colombia, a country where 835 bank robberies took place between 2003 and 2011. They find that loan officers treat would-be borrowers differently in the aftermath of an armed robbery. ….[READ]

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