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The Determinants of Multinational Banking during the First Globalization, 1870–1914

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  • Stefano Battilossi

    ()
    (Department of Economic History and Institutions, Universidad Carlos III Madrid)

Abstract

What determined the multinational expansion of European banks in the pre-1914 era of globalization? And how were banks’ foreign investments related to other facets of the globalizing world economy such as trade and capital flows? The paper reviews both the contemporary and historical literature, and empirically investigates these issues by using an original panel data based on a sample of more than 50 countries. The dependent variable, aiming at measuring the intensity of cross-border activities operated by banks from foreign locations, is the number of foreign branches and subsidiaries of British, French and German banks. Explanatory variables are mainly selected on the base of the eclectic theory of multinational banking, but also include geographical factors (as suggested by gravity models) and institutional indicators advanced by recent studies inspired by new institutional economics, such as legal families and adherence to the Gold Standard. These regressors captures the impact of economic integration (trade and capital flows), informational development, institutional and economic characteristics of the host-market, as well as exchange rate and country risk factors, on banks’ foreign investment decisions. The results suggest that, due to its prevailing ‘colonial’ features, pre-1914 multinational banking does not fit easily into augmented gravity models. The role of trade as a key determinant of banks expansion overseas is qualified, and both institutional factors as well as competitive interaction emerge as critical determinants of banks’ decisions to invest in foreign countries. Moreover, the systematic comparison of determinants of foreign investiments of banks from major core countries reveals that multinational banking was not a homogenous phenomenon, as banks of different nationality responded differently to economic, geographical and institutional factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) in its series Working Papers with number 114.

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Length: 74
Date of creation: 09 Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:114

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Keywords: augmented gravity models; multinational banking; pre-1914 globalization;

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  1. Joël Métais, 1979. "Le processus de multinationalisation des grandes banques commerciales," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 30(3), pages 487-517.
  2. Portes, Richard & Rey, Helene & Oh, Yonghyup, 2001. "Information and capital flows: The determinants of transactions in financial assets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 783-796, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Barry Eichengreen, Marc Flandreau, 2010. "The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Rise of the Dollar as an International Currency, 1914-1939," IHEID Working Papers 16-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  2. Nikolay Nenovsky & Martin Ivanov & Gergana Mihaylova, 2008. "The Evolution of Bulgarian Banks' Efficiency During the Twenties: A Dea Approach," Working Papers 82, Bank of Greece.
  3. David VanHoose, 2013. "A Model of International Trade in Banking Services," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 613-625, September.
  4. Rui Esteves, 2011. "The Political Economy of Global Financial Liberalisation in Historical Perspective," Economics Series Working Papers Number 89, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Barry Eichengreen & Marc Flandreau, 2010. "The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the rise of the dollar as an international currency, 1914-39," BIS Working Papers 328, Bank for International Settlements.

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