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Who said large banks don't experience scale economies? Evidence from a risk-return-driven cost function

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  • Joseph P. Hughes
  • Loretta J. Mester

Abstract

Earlier studies found little evidence of scale economies at large banks; later studies using data from the 1990s uncovered such evidence, providing a rationale for very large banks seen worldwide. Using more recent data, the authors estimate scale economies using two production models. The standard risk-neutral model finds little evidence of scale economies. The model using more general risk preferences and endogenous risk-taking finds large scale economies. The authors show that these economies are not driven by too-big-to-fail considerations. They evaluate the cost implications of breaking up the largest banks into banks of smaller size.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 11-27.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-27

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Keywords: Production (Economic theory) ; Risk ; Systemic risk ; Banks and banking;

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  1. Allen Berger & Robert DeYoung & Mark Flannery & David Lee & Ozde Oztekin, 2008. "How do large banking organizations manage their capital ratio?," Research Working Paper RWP 08-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  2. Joseph P. Hughes & William Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1996. "Efficient banking under interstate branching," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 1045-1075.
  3. Demsetz, Rebecca S & Strahan, Philip E, 1997. "Diversification, Size, and Risk at Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 300-313, August.
  4. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
  5. Joseph P. Hughes, 1997. "Bank Capitalization and Cost: Evidence of Scale Economies in Risk Management and Signaling," Departmental Working Papers 199601, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  6. Feng, Guohua & Serletis, Apostolos, 2010. "Efficiency, technical change, and returns to scale in large US banks: Panel data evidence from an output distance function satisfying theoretical regularity," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 127-138, January.
  7. Loretta J. Mester, 1990. "Traditional and nontraditional banking: an information-theoretic approach," Working Papers 90-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Erel, Isil & Nadauld, Taylor & Stulz, Rene M., 2011. "Why Did U.S. Banks Invest in Highly-Rated Securitization Tranches?," Working Paper Series 2011-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  9. Hughes, Joseph P. & Mester, Loretta J. & Moon, Choon-Geol, 2001. "Are scale economies in banking elusive or illusive?: Evidence obtained by incorporating capital structure and risk-taking into models of bank production," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2169-2208, December.
  10. Michel A. Habib & Alexander Ljungqvist, 2005. "Firm Value and Managerial Incentives: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2053-2094, November.
  11. Joseph P. Hughes & William W. Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 2000. "Recovering risky technologies using the almost ideal demand system: an application to U.S. banking," Working Papers 00-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. David C. Wheelock & Paul W. Wilson, 2012. "Do Large Banks Have Lower Costs? New Estimates of Returns to Scale for U.S. Banks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(1), pages 171-199, 02.
  13. Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Inside the black box: What explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 895-947, July.
  14. Elijah Brewer, III & Julapa Jagtiani, 2009. "How much did banks pay to become too-big-to-fail and to become systemically important?," Working Papers 09-34, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. Tufano, Peter, 1996. " Who Manages Risk? An Empirical Examination of Risk Management Practices in the Gold Mining Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1097-1137, September.
  16. Isil Erel & Taylor D. Nadauld & René M. Stulz, 2011. "Why Did U.S. Banks Invest in Highly-Rated Securitization Tranches?," NBER Working Papers 17269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Braeutigam, Ronald R. & Daughety, Andrew F., 1983. "On the estimation of returns to scale using variable cost functions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 25-31.
  18. Keeley, Michael C, 1990. "Deposit Insurance, Risk, and Market Power in Banking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1183-1200, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Hadad, Muliaman D. & Hall, Maximilian J.B. & Santoso, Wimboh & Simper, Richard, 2013. "Economies of scale and a process for identifying hypothetical merger potential in Indonesian commercial banks," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 42-51.

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