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The economic impact of merger control: what is special about banking?

  • Carletti, Elena
  • Hartmann, Philipp
  • Ongena, Steven

There is a long-standing debate about the special nature of banks. Based on a unique dataset of legislative changes in industrial countries, we identify events that strengthen competition policy, analyze their impact on banks and non-financial firms and explain the reactions observed with institutional features that distinguish banking from non-financial sectors. Covering nineteen countries for the period 1987 to 2004, we find that banks are special in that a more competition-oriented regime for merger control increases banks’ stock prices, whereas it decreases those of non-financial firms. Moreover, bank merger targets become more profitable and larger. A major determinant of the positive bank returns, after controlling inter alia for the general quality of institutions and individual bank characteristics, is the opaqueness that characterizes the institutional setup for supervisory bank merger reviews. Thus strengthening competition policy in banking may generate positive externalities in the financial system that offset unintended adverse side effects on efficiency introduced through supervisory policies focusing on prudential considerations and financial stability. Legal arrangements governing competition and supervisory control of bank mergers may therefore have important implications for real activity. JEL Classification: G21, G28, D4

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0786.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20070786
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  1. Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
  2. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "The cost of banking regulation," Proceedings 937, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Detragiache, Enrica, 2002. "Does deposit insurance increase banking system stability? An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1373-1406, October.
  4. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Luc Laeven & Ross Levine, 2004. "Regulations, market structure, institutions, and the cost of financial intermediation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 593-626.
  5. R. Alton Gilbert & Adam M. Zaretsky, 2003. "Banking antitrust: are the assumptions still valid?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 29-52.
  6. Nicola Cetorelli & Michele Gambera, 1999. "Banking Market Structure, Financial Dependence and Growth: International Evidence from Industry Data," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-19, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Tomaso Duso & Damien J. Neven & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2007. "The Political Economy of European Merger Control: Evidence using Stock Market Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 455-489.
  8. Forslid, Rikard & Häckner, Jonas & Muren, Astri, 2005. "When do Countries Introduce Competition Policy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5162, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Djankov, Simeon & McLiesh, Caralee & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "Private credit in 129 countries," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 299-329, May.
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  11. Elena Carletti & Philipp Hartmann & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2007. "Bank Mergers, Competition, and Liquidity," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(5), pages 1067-1105, 08.
  12. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125498 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
  14. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2006. "Bank concentration, competition, and crises: First results," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1581-1603, May.
  15. Becher, David A., 2009. "Bidder returns and merger anticipation: Evidence from banking deregulation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 85-98, February.
  16. Berger, Allen N, et al, 2004. "Bank Concentration and Competition: An Evolution in the Making," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 433-51, June.
  17. Craig O. Brown & I. Serdar Dinç, 2005. "The Politics of Bank Failures: Evidence from Emerging Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1413-1444, November.
  18. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Bank concentration and crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3041, The World Bank.
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