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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 J. Hughes

    (Rutgers University)

  • Loretta Mester

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

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, we 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. We show that these economies are not driven by too-big-to-fail considerations. We evaluate the cost implications of breaking up the largest banks into banks of smaller size.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 201127.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 02 Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:201127

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Keywords: banking; production;

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  1. Michel Habib & Alexander Ljungqvist, 2000. "Firm Value and Managerial Incentives: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," OFRC Working Papers Series 2000fe03, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
  2. 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.
  3. Oecd, 2010. "Labour markets and the crisis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 756, OECD Publishing.
  4. Mester, Loretta J., 1992. "Traditional and nontraditional banking: An information-theoretic approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 545-566, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Jagannathan Ravi & Boyd John, 2009. "Avoiding the Next Crisis," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 6(7), pages 1-5, July.
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  9. Elijah Brewer & Julapa Jagtiani, 2013. "How Much Did Banks Pay to Become Too-Big-To-Fail and to Become Systemically Important?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 1-35, February.
  10. 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.
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  12. Alan Greenspan, 2010. "The Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 201-261.
  13. Joseph Hughes & William Lang & Loretta Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 2000. "Recovering Risky Technologies Using the Almost Ideal Demand System: An Application to U.S. Banking," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 5-27, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester & Moon Choo-Geol, 2000. "Are scale economies in banking elusive or illusive? evidence obtained by incorporating capital structure and risk-taking into models of bank production," Proceedings 700, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  16. 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.
  17. Guohua Feng & Apostolos Serletis, 2009. "Efficiency, Technical Change, and Returns to Scale in Large U.S. Banks: Panel Data Evidence from an Output Distance Function Satisfying Theoretical Regularity," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 5/09, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Alan Greenspan, 2010. "La crisis," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 12(22), pages 15-60, January-J.
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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.
  2. 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.
  3. Pejman Abedifar & Philip Molyneux & Amine Tarazi, 2014. "Non-Interest Income Activities and Bank Lending," Working Papers hal-00947074, HAL.

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