A new measure of financial development: Theory leads measurement

John H. Boyd, Abu M. Jalal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study presents a new measure of financial development that is directly derived from theory. Our measure, the Marginal Utilization of Debt (hereafter, MUD) comes from the seminal work of Myers (1984), Myers and Majluf (1984) and Shyam-Sunder and Myers (1999). Further, it is directly related to the development facts of Gurley and Shaw (1955). MUD is a global measure that reflects conditions in both debt and equity markets. It varies enormously across nations; from 0.23 in Australia at one extreme to 0.96 in Turkey at the other. Cross-country variations in MUD are not random; they are related to special-purpose measures of debt and equity market advancement from the financial development literature. Richer, more advanced nations have smaller average MUDs. We argue that the MUD may be useful for a variety of purposes and provide three example applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-357
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Debt
  • Financial development
  • Financial markets


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