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A general method of deriving the efficiencies of banks from a profit function


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  • P.A.V.B. Swamy
  • Jalal D. Akhavein
  • Stephen B. Taubman


Questions of whether the evolution of the financial services industry results in more efficient intermediaries, better prices and service quality for consumers, and greater bank safety and soundness cannot be answered without addressing the cost and revenue efficiencies of the industry. Most studies of the efficiency of financial institutions have used an econometric approach to measure efficiency. This paper tries to address potential econometric problems of previous efficiency studies and suggests a new technique for measuring efficiency. This method is applied to data on U.S. commercial banks from 1984 through 1989. Previous studies used one of four different approaches for estimating X-efficiencies - the econometric frontier approach, the thick frontier approach, data envelopment analysis, and the distribution free approaches. In all four cases, the econometric problem of estimating X-efficiencies is defined simply as one of distinguishing between two components of a random error term added to a cost or profit function. The authors suggest that it is possible that the actual econometric problem of estimating X-inefficiencies is not as simple as the problem of distinguishing between two random components because of the following three reasons: ( i ) the true functional forms of the cost or profit functions of the firms are usually unknown; ( ii ) explanatory variables excluded from the cost or profit function are likely to be correlated with the explanatory variables included in the function; and (iii) inconsistencies may arise if arbitrary error terms are added to a cost or profit function and their corresponding share equations. The authors use a fixed-coefficients model that allows them to address the econometric problems mentioned above. This methodology also allows for the estimation of a separate frontier for each firm as opposed to previous studies that estimate one frontier which is common to all firms. The results of the paper show that the residual wh

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 94-11.

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Date of creation: 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:94-11

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Keywords: Bank profits ; Bank management;

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Cited by:
  1. Loretta J. Mester, 1996. "Measuring efficiency at U.S. banks: accounting for heterogeneity is important," Working Papers 96-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "Inside the Black Box: What Explains Differences in the Efficiencies of Financial Institutions?," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-04, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. José Luis Carreño G. & Gino Loyola F. & Yolanda Portilla S., 2010. "Banking Efficiency in Chile: a Profit Frontier Approach," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 13(3), pages 33-65, December.
  4. Chung-Hua Shen, 2005. "Cost efficiency and banking performances in a partial universal banking system: application of the panel smooth threshold model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(9), pages 993-1009.
  5. Park, B.U. & Sickles, R.C. & Simar, L., 2000. "Semiparametric Efficient Estimation of AR(1) Panel Data Models," Papers 0020, Catholique de Louvain - Institut de statistique.
  6. Robert DeYoung & Kenneth Spong & Richard J. Sullivan, 1999. "Who's minding the store? motivating and monitoring hired managers at small, closely held firms: the case of commercial banks," Working Paper Series WP-99-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Jalal D. Akhavein & Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1996. "The Effects of Megamergers on Efficiency and Prices: Evidence from a Bank Profit Function," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-03, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Donald J. Mullineaux & Mark K. Pyles,, 2010. "Bank marketing investments and bank performance," Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(4), pages 326 - 345, December.
  9. Vivas, Ana Lozano, 1997. "Profit efficiency for Spanish savings banks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 381-394, April.
  10. Toivanen, Otto, 1997. "Economies of scale and scope in the Finnish non-life insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 759-779, June.
  11. Dias, Weeratilake, 1998. "Productivity And Efficiency Of Agricultural And Non Agricultural Banks In The United States: Dea Approach," 1998 Annual meeting, August 2-5, Salt Lake City, UT 20845, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).


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