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Technical progress, inefficiency and productivity change in U.S. banking, 1984-1993

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  • David C. Wheelock
  • Paul W. Wilson

Abstract

Numerous studies have found that US commercial banks are quite inefficient, and we find that, on average, banks became more technically inefficient between 1984 and 1993. Our analysis of productivity change, however, shows that technological improvements adopted by a few banks pushed out the efficient frontier, and that, on average, commercial banks experienced productivity gains. For banks with assets less than 0 million, however, technological improvement was insufficient to offset increased inefficiency, and thus productivity declined over the period. Our findings suggest that increasing inefficiency is reflective of an industry undergoing rapid technical change and adjustment of average firm size, but not necessarily a long-term decline.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Wheelock & Paul W. Wilson, 1996. "Technical progress, inefficiency and productivity change in U.S. banking, 1984-1993," Working Papers 1994-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1994-021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Loretta J. Mester, 1987. "Efficient production of financial services: scale and scope economies," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jan, pages 15-25.
    2. Chavas, Jean-Paul & Cox, Thomas L, 1990. "A Non-parametric Analysis of Productivity: The Case of U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 450-464, June.
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    Keywords

    Banks and banking ; Productivity ; Technology;

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