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Measuring bank competition in China: a comparison of new versus conventional approaches applied to loan markets

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  • Bing Xu
  • Adrian Van Rixtel
  • Michiel Van Leuvensteijn

Abstract

Since the 1980s, important and progressive reforms have profoundly reshaped the structure of the Chinese banking system. Many empirical studies suggest that financial reform promoted bank competition in most mature and emerging economies. However, some earlier studies that adopted conventional approaches to measure competition concluded that bank competition in China declined during the past decade, despite these reforms. In this paper, we show both empirically and theoretically that this apparent contradiction is the result of flawed measurement. Conventional indicators such as the Lerner index and Panzar-Rosse H-statistic fail to measure competition in Chinese loan markets properly due to the system of interest rate regulation. By contrast, the relatively new Profit Elasticity (PE) approach that was introduced in Boone (2008) as Relative Profit Differences (RPD) does not suffer from these shortcomings. Using balance sheet information for a large sample of banks operating in China during 1996–2008, we show that competition actually increased in the past decade when the PE indicator is used. We provide additional empirical evidence that supports our results. We find that these firstly are in line with the process of financial reform, as measured by several indices, and secondly are robust for a large number of alternative specifications and estimation methods. All in all, our analysis suggests that bank lending markets in China have been more competitive than previously assumed.

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  • Bing Xu & Adrian Van Rixtel & Michiel Van Leuvensteijn, 2013. "Measuring bank competition in China: a comparison of new versus conventional approaches applied to loan markets," BIS Working Papers 422, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:422
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    3. Andrei Vernikov, 2014. "China and Russia: Institutional Coherence between the Banking Systems," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 130, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    4. Bogdan Capraru & Nicoleta-Livia Pintilie, 2017. "Assessing competition in the European Union banking sector," The Review of Finance and Banking, Academia de Studii Economice din Bucuresti, Romania / Facultatea de Finante, Asigurari, Banci si Burse de Valori / Catedra de Finante, vol. 9(1), pages 007-026, June.
    5. Vernikov, Andrei, 2014. "Сравнение Институциональной Структуры Банковских Систем России И Китая [Comparing the institutional structure of Russian and Chinese banking systems]," MPRA Paper 64339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    7. Michele Benvenuti & Silvia Del Prete, 2019. "A profit elasticity approach to measure banking competition in Italian credit markets," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1237, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. De Bonis, Riccardo & Marinelli, Giuseppe & Vercelli, Francesco, 2018. "Playing yo-yo with bank competition: New evidence from 1890 to 2014," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 134-151.
    9. Huiwen Xia & Nada Chunsom, 2018. "Third-Party Payments Impact on Commercial Banks¡¯ Non-Interest Income: Evidence from China," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 10(8), pages 190-190, August.
    10. Richard C. K. Burdekin & Ran Tao, 2014. "Bank Lending Margins in China and the Effects of the June 2012 Liberalization," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 5(02), pages 1-19.

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    Keywords

    Competition; banking industry; China; lending markets; marginal costs; regulation; deregulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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