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Measuring multi-product banks' market power using the Lerner index

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  • Sherrill Shaffer
  • Laura Spierdijk

Abstract

The aggregate Lerner index is a popular composite measure of multi-product banks’ market power, based on the assumption that banks’ single aggregate output factor is total assets. This study identifies three limitations of the aggregate Lerner index that potentially distort its interpretation as a composite measure of market power. We investigate the empirical relevance of these limitations for a sample of U.S. banks covering the years 2011–2017. We establish an economically relevant bias in the value of the aggregate Lerner index and show that this bias may also affect regressions that use the Lerner index as a dependent or explanatory variable.

Suggested Citation

  • Sherrill Shaffer & Laura Spierdijk, 2019. "Measuring multi-product banks' market power using the Lerner index," CAMA Working Papers 2019-17, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2019-17
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    Keywords

    multi-product banks; market power; Lerner index; consistent aggregation;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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