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Bank diversification, market structure and bank risk taking: theory and evidence from U.S. commercial banks

This paper studies how a bank’s diversification affects its own risk taking behavior and the risk taking of competing, nondiversified banks. By combining theories of bank organization, market structure and risk taking, I show that greater geographic diversification of banks changes a bank’s lending behavior and market interest rates, which also has ramifications for nondiversified competitors due to interactions in the banking market. Empirical results obtained from the U.S. commercial banking sector support this relationship as they indicate that a bank’s risk taking is lower when its competitors have a more diversified branch network. By utilizing the state-specific timing of a removal of intrastate branching restrictions in two identification strategies, I further pin down a causal relationship between the diversification of competitors and a bank’s risk taking behavior. These findings indicate that a bank’s diversification also impacts the risk taking of competitors, even if these banks are not diversifying their activities.

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File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/bankinfo/qau/wp/2012/qau1202.htm
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File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/bankinfo/qau/wp/2012/qau1202.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper with number QAU12-2.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbqu:qau12-2
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  1. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2000. "Causes of U.S. Bank Distress During the Depression," NBER Working Papers 7919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jose M. Liberti & Atif R. Mian, 2009. "Estimating the Effect of Hierarchies on Information Use," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(10), pages 4057-4090, October.
  3. John Boyd & Gianni De Nicolò & Elena Loukoianova, 2010. "Banking Crises and Crisis Dating: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 3134, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Marquez, Robert, 2004. "Information and bank credit allocation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 185-214, April.
  5. Mark Carlson & Kris James Mitchener, 2007. "Branch Banking as a Device for Discipline: Competition and Bank Survivorship During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 12938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew Hertzberg & Jose Maria Liberti & Daniel Paravisini, 2010. "Information and Incentives Inside the Firm: Evidence from Loan Officer Rotation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(3), pages 795-828, 06.
  7. Bongini, Paola & Laeven, Luc & Majnoni, Giovanni, 2002. "How good is the market at assessing bank fragility? A horse race between different indicators," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1011-1028, May.
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