Empirical evidence suggests that capital-market constraints prevent low-wealth individuals from setting up in business. This paper shows this finding to be consistent with socially excessive lending and an interest-rate tax being welfare-improving. One feature of the model, banks' inability to identify entrepreneurial quality, leads to excessive bank lending and investment in low-return projects. The reduction in the probability of bankruptcy lowers the cost of borrowing and eliminates deadweight costs and hence promotes entry. If the incentive effects are sufficiently large, wealth and the volume of entrepreneurial activity move together. A key result of the paper is to show that a market equilibrium in which there is a positive relationship between entry and the level of wealth is consistent with either subsidies to inactivity or taxes on interest raising welfare
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