Integration and competition in the European financial markets
Financial integration in Europe should affect the competition between markets and intermediaries and generate a convergence of both interest rates and margins among the different countries. This paper analyses the evolution of the convergence in interest rates and the level of competition and its inequalities among the European banking systems for the period 1993 to 2001. The inequality index used ?the Theil index- allows us to break down the inequalities so that the importance of either a country effect or a specialization effect is quantified. If the former effect dominates it would mean that the national banking markets are segmented as a consequence of the existence of obstacles or barriers to the integration. On the other hand, the dominance of the latter effect would be related to the different level of competition depending on the type of banking specialization. La integración financiera en Europa debe producir efectos sobre la competenciaentre mercados e intermediarios (reducción de precios, costes de intermediación ymárgenes) y generar convergencia en tipos de interés y márgenes entre países. Estetrabajo analiza la evolución de la convergencia en tipos de interés y el nivel decompetencia en los sectores bancarios europeos en el periodo 1993-2001. Además, seestudia el grado de desigualdad de los niveles de competencia mediante la aplicacióndel índice de Theil. Este índice permite la descomposición de la desigualdad de formaque se cuantifica la importancia de tanto efectos país como efectos especialización. Silos primeros dominasen querría decir que los mercados bancarios nacionales estaríansegmentados como consecuencia de la existencia de barreras u obstáculos a laintegración. Por otro lado, si dominasen los efectos especialización, el nivel decompetencia dependería del tipo de especialización bancaria.
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