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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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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Allen Berger & Robert DeYoung & Mark Flannery & David Lee & Özde Öztekin, 2008. "How Do Large Banking Organizations Manage Their Capital Ratios?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 123-149, December.
  3. Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "Inside the black box: what explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 1998. "Bank Capitalization And Cost: Evidence Of Scale Economies In Risk Management And Signaling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 314-325, May.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Hughes, Joseph P, et al, 1996. "Efficient Banking under Interstate Branching," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 1045-71, November.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Mester, Loretta J., 1992. "Traditional and nontraditional banking: An information-theoretic approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 545-566, June.
  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. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
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