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The profit-structure relationship, efficiency and mergers in the European banking industry: an empirical assessment


  • L.W. Punt
  • M.C.J. van Rooij


An empirical investigation of the relationship between market share or concentration and return on equity or assets provides evidence for the existence of a profit-structure relationship in the European banking sector. Testing several market-power and efficient-structure theories reveals that X-efficiency is the crucial factor explaining the profit-structure relationship because it stimulates both profitability and market share. Bank mergers in recent years have been successful because, on average, X-efficiency and profitability have improved after the consolidation. Moreover, there are no indications of unfavourable price setting behaviour as a result of increased market power.

Suggested Citation

  • L.W. Punt & M.C.J. van Rooij, 1999. "The profit-structure relationship, efficiency and mergers in the European banking industry: an empirical assessment," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 604, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:wormem:604

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jalal D. Akhavein & Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1996. "The Effects of Megamergers on Efficiency and Prices: Evidence from a Bank Profit Function," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-03, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Inside the black box: What explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 895-947, July.
    3. Molyneux, Philip & Thornton, John, 1992. "Determinants of European bank profitability: A note," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 1173-1178, December.
    4. Allen N. Berger & Timothy H. Hannan, 1998. "The Efficiency Cost Of Market Power In The Banking Industry: A Test Of The "Quiet Life" And Related Hypotheses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 454-465, August.
    5. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: International survey and directions for future research," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 175-212, April.
    6. Jacob A. Bikker, 2001. "Efficiency in the European banking industry: an exploratory analysis to rank contries," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 17.
    7. Stevenson, Rodney E., 1980. "Likelihood functions for generalized stochastic frontier estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 57-66, May.
    8. Allen, Linda & Rai, Anoop, 1996. "Operational efficiency in banking: An international comparison," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 655-672, May.
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    10. Allen N. Berger & Timothy H. Hannan, 1993. "Using efficiency measures to distinguish among alternative explanations of the structure-performance relationship in banking," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Pastor, JoseManuel & Perez, Francisco & Quesada, Javier, 1997. "Efficiency analysis in banking firms: An international comparison," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 395-407, April.
    12. Berger, Allen N. & Hancock, Diana & Humphrey, David B., 1993. "Bank efficiency derived from the profit function," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 317-347, April.
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carol Ann Northcott, 2004. "Competition in Banking: A Review of the Literature," Staff Working Papers 04-24, Bank of Canada.
    2. Marcel Canoy & S. Onderstal, 2003. "Tight oligopolies: in search of proportionate remedies," CPB Document 29, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. Leo de Haan & Elmer Sterken, 2006. "Price Leadership in the Dutch Mortgage Market," DNB Working Papers 102, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item


    Profit-structure relationship; bank efficiency; bank mergers;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms


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