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Efficiency and Economies of Scale of Large Canadian Banks


  • Jason Allen
  • Ying Liu


The authors measure the economies of scale of Canada's six largest banks and their cost-efficiency over time. Using a unique panel data set from 1983 to 2003, they estimate pooled translog cost functions and derive measures of relative efficiency and economies of scale. The disaggregation of the data allows the authors to model Canadian banks as producing multiple outputs, including non-traditional activities. Given the long time span of the data set, they also incorporate technological and regulatory changes in the banks' cost functions, as well as time-varying bank-specific effects. The authors' model leads them to reject constant returns to scale. These findings suggest that there are potential scale benefits in the Canadian banking industry. The authors also find that technological and regulatory changes have had significant positive effects on the banks' cost structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Allen & Ying Liu, 2005. "Efficiency and Economies of Scale of Large Canadian Banks," Staff Working Papers 05-13, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:05-13

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Prudence Serju, 2007. "Estimating Potential Output for Jamaica: a Structural VAR Approach," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(1), pages 1-22, January-J.
    2. Jason Allen & Walter Engert & Ying Liu, 2006. "Are Canadian Banks Efficient? A Canada--U.S. Comparison," Staff Working Papers 06-33, Bank of Canada.
    3. Walid Hejazi & Eric Santor, 2005. "Degree of Internationalization and Performance: An Analysis of Canadian Banks," Staff Working Papers 05-32, Bank of Canada.
    4. Diego Restrepo-Tobón & Subal Kumbhakar & Kai Sun, 2015. "Obelix vs. Asterix: Size of US commercial banks and its regulatory challenge," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 125-168, October.
    5. Scott J. Dressler, 2011. "Economies Of Scale In Banking, Indeterminacy, And Monetary Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 185-193, January.
    6. Jason Allen & Walter Engert & Ying Liu, 2007. "A Comparison of Canadian and US Universal Banks: Efficiency, Productivity, and the Role of Technology," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(1), pages 61-96, January-J.
    7. Sakarya, Burchan, 2013. "A look at the Structural Bank Regulation initiatives and a discussion over Turkish banking sector," MPRA Paper 69195, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. repec:pra:mprapa:54437 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Robert McKeown, 2017. "Where are the economies of scale in Canadian banking?," Working Papers 1380, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    10. Leclerc, André & Fortin, Mario, 2009. "Économies d’échelle et de gamme dans les coopératives de services financiers : une approche non paramétrique (DEA)," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 85(3), pages 263-282, septembre.
    11. Ekin Ayşe Özşuca & Elif Akbostancı, 2016. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk-Taking Channel of Monetary Policy in Turkey," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(3), pages 589-609, March.
    12. Guidara, Alaa & Lai, Van Son & Soumaré, Issouf & Tchana, Fulbert Tchana, 2013. "Banks’ capital buffer, risk and performance in the Canadian banking system: Impact of business cycles and regulatory changes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3373-3387.
    13. Burçhan Sakarya, 2013. "A Look at the Structural Bank Regulation Initiatives and a Discussion over Turkish Banking Sector?," EY International Congress on Economics I (EYC2013), October 24-25, 2013, Ankara, Turkey 21, Ekonomik Yaklasim Association.
    14. Thorsten V. Koeppl & James MacGee, 2007. "Branching Out: The Urgent Need to Transform Canada’s Financial Landscape and How to Do It," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 251, June.
    15. repec:mes:emfitr:v:52:y:2016:i:3:p:589-609 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Diego A. Restrepo-Tobón & Subal C. Kumbhakar & Kai Sun, 2013. "Are U.S. Commercial Banks Too Big?," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 010943, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    17. Alicia García-Herrero & Josep Vilarrubia Author-Workplace-Name: Banco Central de la República Argentina, 2007. "The Laffer Curve of Macroeconomic Volatility and Growth: Can it be Explained by the Different Nature of Crises?," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(1), pages 43-60, January-J.
    18. Prosper F. Bangwayo-Skeete & Ryan W. Skeete, 2007. "Regional Integration and Elasticities of Export Demand in Barbados," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(1), pages 23-41, January-J.
    19. Christian Calm¨¨s & Raymond Th¨¦oret, 2013. "Is the Canadian Banking System Really ¡°Stronger¡± than the U.S. One?," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 3, pages 1-18, November.
    20. Farruggio, Christian & Uhde, André, 2015. "Determinants of loan securitization in European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 12-27.
    21. Dressler, Scott J. & Kersting, Erasmus K., 2014. "Economies Of Scale In Banking, Confidence Shocks, And Business Cycles," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(05), pages 1069-1090, July.
    22. Michalak, Tobias C. & Uhde, André, 2012. "Credit risk securitization and bank soundness in Europe," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 272-285.
    23. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2013. "Is the Canadian banking system really “stronger” than the U.S. one?," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp022013, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.
    24. David Dodge, 2011. "Public Policy for the Canadian Financial System: From Porter to the Present and Beyond," New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart,in: Fred Gorbet & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart, pages 81-100 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item


    Financial institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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