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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

The Great Recession focused attention on large financial institutions and systemic risk. We investigate whether large size provides any cost advantages to the economy and, if so, whether these cost advantages are due to technological scale economies or too-big-to-fail subsidies. Estimating scale economies is made more complex by risk-taking. Better diversification resulting from larger scale generates scale economies but also incentives to take more risk. When this additional risk-taking adds to cost, it can obscure the underlying scale economies and engender misleading econometric estimates of them. Using data pre- and post-crisis, we estimate scale economies using two production models. The standard model ignores endogenous risk-taking and finds little evidence of scale economies. The model accounting for managerial risk preferences and endogenous risk-taking finds large scale economies, which are not driven by too-big-to-fail considerations. We evaluate the costs and competitive implications of breaking up the largest banks into smaller banks. ; This paper supersedes Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Working Paper No. 11-27

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 13-13.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision: 04 Feb 2014
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:13-13

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Keywords: Banks and banking ; Risk ; Economies of scale;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pejman Abedifar & Philip Molyneux & Amine Tarazi, 2014. "Non-Interest Income Activities and Bank Lending," Working Papers hal-00947074, HAL.
  2. 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.
  3. Hryckiewicz, Aneta, 2014. "Originators, traders, neutrals, and traditioners – various banking business models across the globe. Does the business model matter for financial stability?," MPRA Paper 55118, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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