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Risk bearing, implicit financial services, and specialization in the financial industry

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  • J. Christina Wang
  • Susanto Basu

Abstract

What is the output of financial institutions? And how can we measure their nominal and, more importantly, real value, especially since many financial services are provided without explicit charges? This paper summarizes the theoretical result that, to correctly impute the nominal value of implicit financial service output, the “user cost of money” framework needs to be extended to take account of the systematic risk in financial instruments. This extension is easy to implement in principle: One can continue using the current imputation procedure, and the only change needed is to adjust the reference rates of interest for risk. ; The paper clarifies why the risk-related income is not part of the output—or equivalently, why risk bearing is not a service—of financial institutions. The paper next argues that, to measure real output, one must first explicitly specify and define the economic services produced by financial firms, a step that is absent from the “user cost of money” theory. Once it is established that only financial services, and not instruments, should be counted as the value added of financial firms, it follows that the quantity of services provided by these institutions is not necessarily in fixed proportion to the volume of instruments. The corollary is that the implicit price of financial services bears no definitive relationship with any reference rate. Instead, price deflators for financial services should be constructed using methods similar to those used for other services.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Christina Wang & Susanto Basu, 2005. "Risk bearing, implicit financial services, and specialization in the financial industry," Public Policy Discussion Paper 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:06-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Bertrand Groslambert & Raphaël Chiappini & Olivier Bruno, 2015. "Bank Output Calculation in the Case of France: What Do New Methods Tell About the Financial Intermediation Services in the Aftermath of the Crisis?," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-32, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    2. Chaffai, Mohamed & Dietsch, Michel, 2015. "Modelling and measuring business risk and the resiliency of retail banks," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 173-182.
    3. Susanto Basu & Robert Inklaar & J. Christina Wang, 2011. "The Value Of Risk: Measuring The Service Output Of U.S. Commercial Banks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 226-245, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial services industry;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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