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Comparing Efficiency in European Banking: a Meta Frontier Approach

  • J.W.B. Bos
  • H. Schmiedel

A persistent paradox in stochastic frontier efficiency research is that we cannot compare the X-efficiency of firms without assuming these firms to operate under a common frontier. In this paper, we address this imbalance by constructing so-called metafrontiers. Specifically, we build on recent advances by Battese et al. (2002) in enveloping regional frontiers. First, we estimate country-specific and common cost and profit frontiers. Second, we apply a type of envelope that provides a good fit for a meta-frontier. Using a data set of more than 5000 large commercial banks from all major European banking markets over the period 1993-2000, the application of meta-frontiers enables us to assess the existence of a single European banking market. Empirical evidence supports the view that traditional efficiency techniques based on pooled frontier efficiency scores tend to underestimate cost and profit efficiency levels resulting in biased cross-country comparisons.

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision in its series Research Series Supervision (discontinued) with number 57.

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Date of creation: May 2003
Handle: RePEc:dnb:ressup:57
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  1. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: international survey and directions for future research," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Mester, Loretta J., 1996. "A study of bank efficiency taking into account risk-preferences," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1025-1045, July.
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  4. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren & Faith Kasirye, 1998. "The poor performance of foreign bank subsidiaries: were the problems acquired or created?," Working Papers 98-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Allen N. Berger & Robert DeYoung & Hesna Genay & Gregory F. Udell, 2000. "Globalization of financial institutions: evidence from cross-border banking performance," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-04, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Allen N. Berger & Rebecca Demsetz & Philip E. Strahan, 1998. "The consolidation of the financial services industry: causes, consequences, and implications for the future," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  8. Battese, George E. & Coelli, Tim J., 1988. "Prediction of firm-level technical efficiencies with a generalized frontier production function and panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 387-399, July.
  9. 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.
  10. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1991. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 117-148, August.
  11. Greene, William H., 1980. "Maximum likelihood estimation of econometric frontier functions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 27-56, May.
  12. Dietsch, Michel & Lozano-Vivas, Ana, 2000. "How the environment determines banking efficiency: A comparison between French and Spanish industries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 985-1004, June.
  13. Ana Lozano-Vivas & Jesús T. Pastor & Iftekhar Hasan, 2001. "European Bank Performance Beyond Country Borders: What Really Matters?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 5(1-2), pages 141-165.
  14. Ruthenberg, David & Elias, Ricky, 1996. "Cost economies and interest rate margins in a unified European banking market," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 231-249, August.
  15. Berg, Sigbjorn Atle & Forsund, Finn R & Jansen, Eilev S, 1992. " Malmquist Indices of Productivity Growth during the Deregulation of Norwegian Banking, 1980-89," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages 211-228, Supplemen.
  16. Berger, Allen N. & Hunter, William C. & Timme, Stephen G., 1993. "The efficiency of financial institutions: A review and preview of research past, present and future," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 221-249, April.
  17. Fried, Harold O. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Shelton S. (ed.), 1993. "The Measurement of Productive Efficiency: Techniques and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072181, December.
  18. Mahajan, Arvind & Rangan, Nanda & Zardkoohi, Asghar, 1996. "Cost structures in multinational and domestic banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 283-306, March.
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