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Opening the black box: Finding the source of cost inefficiency

  • Santiago Carbó Valverde
  • David Humphrey


  • Rafael López del Paso

Parametric and nonparametric procedures are used to identify the apparent source of cost inefficiency in banking. Inefficiencies of 20–25% from earlier studies are reduced to 1–5% when, in addition to commonly specified cost function influences, variables reflecting banks’ external business environment and industry indicators of “productivity” are added. These productivity indicators explain most of the reduction in bank operating cost over 1992–2001 and was 5 times the reduction in the dispersion of inefficiency. Inefficiency appears stable over time because it is small relative to industry-wide cost changes occurring concurrently and because technology dispersion is imperfect. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Productivity Analysis.

Volume (Year): 27 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 209-220

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:27:y:2007:i:3:p:209-220
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  1. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1990. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 107, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Lozano-Vivas, Ana & Humphrey, David B., 2002. "Bias in Malmquist index and cost function productivity measurement in banking," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-188, March.
  3. Ana Lozano-Vivas & Jesús Pastor & José Pastor, 2002. "An Efficiency Comparison of European Banking Systems Operating under Different Environmental Conditions," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 59-77, July.
  4. Francisco Pérez García & Javier Quesada Ibañez & Joaquín Maudos Villarroya & José Manuel Pastor Monsálvez, 1999. "- Cost And Profit Efficiency In European Banks," Working Papers. Serie EC 1999-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  5. Simar, Leopold & Wilson, Paul W., 2007. "Estimation and inference in two-stage, semi-parametric models of production processes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 31-64, January.
  6. Paul W. Bauer & Allen N. Berger & Gary D. Ferrier & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Consistency conditions for regulatory analysis of financial institutions: a comparison of frontier efficiency methods," Financial Services working paper 97-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Bauer, Paul W. & Hancock, Diana, 1993. "The efficiency of the Federal Reserve in providing check processing services," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 287-311, April.
  8. Humphrey, David & Willesson, Magnus & Bergendahl, Goran & Lindblom, Ted, 2006. "Benefits from a changing payment technology in European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1631-1652, June.
  9. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
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