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On the effects of banks’ equity ownership on credit markets : an antitrust perspective on the Glass-Steagall act


  • AMIR, Rabah
  • TROGE, Michael


Recent U.S. legislation (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) allows commercial banks to enter merchant banking, i.e. hold equity in non-financial firms. A stylised auction-theoretic model is developed to investigate the effects of bank equity stakes in firms on the competition in bank loans. The main finding is that the largest stake confers a competitive advantage to the holding bank and constitutes a barrier to entry in equity acquisition, resulting in high interest rates charged to firms. This finding unearths an antitrust dimension in the controversial debate on the separation of banking and commerce in the U.S., and provides a theoretical basis for recent empirical evidence on the relationship between bank equity holdings and the cost of debt finance in Germany and Japan.

Suggested Citation

  • AMIR, Rabah & TROGE, Michael, 2004. "On the effects of banks’ equity ownership on credit markets : an antitrust perspective on the Glass-Steagall act," CORE Discussion Papers 2004038, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2004038

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. White, Eugene Nelson, 1986. "Before the Glass-Steagall Act: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 33-55, January.
    2. Kroszner, Randall S & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. "Is the Glass-Steagall Act Justified? A Study of the U.S. Experience with Universal Banking before 1933," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 810-832, September.
    3. Rabah Amir & Val E. Lambson, 2000. "On the Effects of Entry in Cournot Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 235-254.
    4. Santos, Joao A. C., 1999. "Bank capital and equity investment regulations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 1095-1120, July.
    5. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1995. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 407-443.
    6. David E. Weinstein & Yishay Yafeh, 1998. "On the Costs of a Bank-Centered Financial System: Evidence from the Changing Main Bank Relations in Japan," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(2), pages 635-672, April.
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    More about this item


    banking and commerce; regulation and antitrust; Glass-Steagall act; Gramm-Leach-Bliley act; auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General


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