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Service output of bank holding companies in the 1990s and the role of risk

  • J. Christina Wang
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    This paper constructs a new measure of output for Bank Holding Companies (BHCs) over the period 1986 to 1999. This flow measure of bank value added follows from a unified model of bank operation that integrates theories of production, financial intermediation, and asset pricing. The primary contribution of the model is to demonstrate how one should account for risk when measuring the value added of bank services. One key implication is that the risk-related return on the funds banks borrow and lend should be excluded from the nominal value of the services banks produce, since the model recognizes that these funds are simply a particular kind of intermediate input. The new output measure is thus conceptually different from the existing ones even in terms of the nominal value. This paper focuses on deriving the nominal value of bank services according to the new measure, since no adequate data are available for compiling more accurate price indices for the services. Comparisons show that the new measure differs noticeably from the two existing ones. First, it is about 25% smaller than the measure stipulated in System of National Accounts 1993, and it is two orders of magnitude smaller than the measure used in virtually all the empirical studies of individual banking organizations. Second, the new measure exhibits quite different time series properties--in particular, it is more cyclical. This new model-based measure of bank output carries significant implications for the measurement of banking output in the National Income Accounts, providing the theoretical basis for a new approach that is consistent with basic principles. This paper can be regarded as a first attempt to resolve the host of data limitations on the implementation of the new measure. Better data and more accurate price indices for bank services will be needed before the new measure can become practical for National Income Accounting.

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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 03-6.

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    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:03-6
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    1. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Efficiency of Financial Institutions: International Survey and Directions for Future Research," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-05, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The arbitrage theory of capital asset pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 341-360, December.
    3. Hancock, Diana, 1985. "The Financial Firm: Production with Monetary and Nonmonetary Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 859-80, October.
    4. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
    5. J. Christina Wang, 2003. "Loanable funds, risk, and bank service output," Working Papers 03-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Rogers, Kevin E., 1998. "Nontraditional activities and the efficiency of US commercial banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 467-482, May.
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