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Economies of scope in financial services: A DEA efficiency analysis of the US insurance industry

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  • Cummins, J. David
  • Weiss, Mary A.
  • Xie, Xiaoying
  • Zi, Hongmin

Abstract

This paper investigates economies of scope in the US insurance industry over the period 1993-2006. We test the conglomeration hypothesis, which holds that firms can optimize by diversifying across businesses, versus the strategic focus hypothesis, which holds that firms optimize by focusing on core businesses. We analyze whether it is advantageous for insurers to offer both life-health and property-liability insurance or to specialize in one major industry segment. We estimate cost, revenue, and profit efficiency utilizing data envelopment analysis (DEA) and test for scope economies by regressing efficiency scores on control variables and an indicator for strategic focus. Property-liability insurers realize cost scope economies, but they are more than offset by revenue scope diseconomies. Life-health insurers realize both cost and revenue scope diseconomies. Hence, strategic focus is superior to conglomeration in the insurance industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Cummins, J. David & Weiss, Mary A. & Xie, Xiaoying & Zi, Hongmin, 2010. "Economies of scope in financial services: A DEA efficiency analysis of the US insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1525-1539, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:34:y:2010:i:7:p:1525-1539
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alfred A. Haug & Vincent C. Blackburn, 2013. "Efficiency Aspects of Government Secondary School Finances in New South Wales: Results from a Two-Stage Double-Bootstrap DEA at the School Level," Working Papers 1316, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
    2. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo, 2017. "The structure of the global reinsurance market: An analysis of efficiency, scale, and scope," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 213-229.
    3. Norashikin Ismail & Prof. Dr. Datuk Syed Othman Alhabshi & Prof. Obiyathulla Bacha, 2011. "Organizational Form And Efficiency: The Coexistence Of Family Takaful And Life Insurance In Malaysia," Journal of Global Business and Economics, Global Research Agency, vol. 3(1), pages 122-137, July.
    4. Agostino, Mariarosaria & Nifo, Annamaria & Trivieri, Francesco & Vecchione, Gaetano, 2016. "Total factor productivity heterogeneity: channelling the impact of institutions," MPRA Paper 72759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Hela Miniaoui & Anissa Chaibi, 2014. "Technical Efficiency of Takaful Industry: A Comparative Study of Malaysia and GCC Countries," Working Papers 2014-55, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    6. Kim Economides & Alfred A. Haug & Joe McIntyre, 2013. "Are Courts Slow? Exposing and Measuring the Invisible Determinants of Case Disposition Time," Working Papers 1317, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
    7. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo, 2016. "The Roles of Industry Idiosyncrasy, Cost Efficiency, and Risk in Internationalization: Evidence from the Insurance Industry," Working Papers on Finance 1602, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    8. Jacob A. Bikker, 2016. "Performance of the Life Insurance Industry Under Pressure: Efficiency, Competition, and Consolidation," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 19(1), pages 73-104, March.
    9. Jeungbo Shim, 2011. "Mergers & Acquisitions, Diversification and Performance in the U.S. Property-Liability Insurance Industry," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 119-144, June.
    10. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Wirfs, Jan Hendrik, 2016. "The determinants of efficiency and productivity in the Swiss insurance industry," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 703-714.
    11. Thomas Url, 2014. "Weak Growth Impacts on Private Insurance Business in 2013," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 87(9), pages 609-618, September.
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    13. Akhigbe, Aigbe & Whyte, Ann Marie, 2012. "Does the use of stock incentives influence the payout policy of financial institutions?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 63-71.
    14. Jacob A. Bikker, 2017. "Competition and Scale Economy Effects of the Dutch 2006 Health-Care Insurance Reform," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 42(1), pages 53-78, January.
    15. repec:pal:gpprii:v:42:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41288-017-0045-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Abhilash Nair & Vinod R, 2015. "Determinants of allocative, scale and scope efficiencies of Indian banks," Working papers 177, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode.
    17. Kolokolova, Olga, 2011. "Strategic behavior within families of hedge funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1645-1662, July.
    18. Lau, Kwok Hung, 2013. "Measuring distribution efficiency of a retail network through data envelopment analysis," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 598-611.
    19. Che, Xin & Liebenberg, Andre P., 2017. "Effects of business diversification on asset risk-taking: Evidence from the U.S. property-liability insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 122-136.
    20. Parman, Bryon & Featherstone, Allen & Coffey, Brian, 2015. "Is Efficiency Analysis All There Is With Data Envelopment Analysis," Working Papers 197532, Mississippi State University, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    21. Huang, Wei & Eling, Martin, 2013. "An efficiency comparison of the non-life insurance industry in the BRIC countries," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(3), pages 577-591.
    22. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-055 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Jacob Bikker & Adelina Popescu, 2014. "Efficiency and competition in the Dutch non-life insurance industry: Effects of the 2006 health care reform," DNB Working Papers 438, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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