How does competition affect bank risk-taking?
A common assumption in the academic literature and in the supervision of banking systems is that franchise value plays a key role in limiting bank risk-taking. As market power is the primary source of franchise value, reduced competition in banking markets has been seen as promoting banking stability. A recent paper by Martínez-Miera and Repullo (MMR, 2010) shows that a nonlinear relationship theoretically exists between bank competition and risk-taking in the loan market. We test this hypothesis using data from the Spanish banking system. After controlling for macroeconomic conditions and bank characteristics, we find support for this nonlinear relationship using standard measures of market concentration in both the loan and deposit markets. When direct measures of market power, such as Lerner indices, are used, the empirical results are more supportive of the original franchise value hypothesis, but only in the loan market. Overall, the results highlight the empirical relevance of the MMR model, even though further analysis across other banking markets is needed.
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