Are U.S. banks too large?
The number of commercial banks in the United States has fallen by more than 50 percent since 1984. This consolidation of the U.S. banking industry and the accompanying large increase in average (and median) bank size have prompted concerns about the effects of consolidation and increasing bank size on market competition and on the number of banks that regulators deem “too big to fail.” Agency problems and perverse incentives created by government policies are often cited as reasons why many banks of pursued acquisitions and growth, though bankers often point to economies of scale. This paper presents new estimates of ray-scale and expansion-path scale economies for U.S. banks based on nonparametric local-linear estimation of a model of bank costs. Unlike prior studies that use models with restrictive parametric assumptions or limited samples, our methodology is fully nonparametric and we estimate returns to scale for all U.S. banks over the period 1984-2006. Our estimates indicate that as recently as 2006, most U.S. banks faced increasing returns to scale, suggesting that scale economies are a plausible (but not necessarily only) reason for the growth in average bank size and that the tendency toward increasing scale is likely to continue unless checked by government intervention.
|Date of creation:||2009|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, MO 63166|
Web page: http://www.stlouisfed.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 2000.
"Are scale economies in banking elusive or illusive? evidence obtained by incorporating capital structure and risk-taking into models of bank production,"
700, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Hughes, Joseph P. & Mester, Loretta J. & Moon, Choon-Geol, 2001. "Are scale economies in banking elusive or illusive?: Evidence obtained by incorporating capital structure and risk-taking into models of bank production," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2169-2208, December.
- Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 2000. "Are scale economies in banking elusive or illusive? Evidence obtained by incorporating capital structure and risk-taking into models of bank production," Working Papers 00-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Allen N. Berger, 2002.
"The economic effects of technological progress: evidence from the banking industry,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2002-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Berger, Allen N, 2003. " The Economic Effects of Technological Progress: Evidence from the Banking Industry," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(2), pages 141-176, April.
- Wheelock, David C. & Wilson, Paul W., 2001.
"New evidence on returns to scale and product mix among U.S. commercial banks,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 653-674, June.
- David C. Wheelock & Paul W. Wilson, 1997. "New evidence on returns to scale and product mix among U.S. commercial banks," Working Papers 1997-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Sealey, Calvin W, Jr & Lindley, James T, 1977. "Inputs, Outputs, and a Theory of Production and Cost at Depository Financial Institutions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1251-1266, September.
- Mitchell, Karlyn & Onvural, Nur M, 1996. "Economies of Scale and Scope at Large Commercial Banks: Evidence from the Fourier Flexible Functional Form," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 178-199, May.
- Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2000.
"Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending,"
NBER Working Papers
7685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2002. "Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2533-2570, December.
- Guohua Feng & Apostolos Serletis, 2009.
"Efficiency, Technical Change, and Returns to Scale in Large U.S. Banks: Panel Data Evidence from an Output Distance Function Satisfying Theoretical Regularity,"
Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers
5/09, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
- Feng, Guohua & Serletis, Apostolos, 2010. "Efficiency, technical change, and returns to scale in large US banks: Panel data evidence from an output distance function satisfying theoretical regularity," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 127-138, January.
- R. Alton Gilbert & Adam M. Zaretsky, 2003. "Banking antitrust: are the assumptions still valid?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 29-52.
- McAllister, Patrick H. & McManus, Douglas, 1993. "Resolving the scale efficiency puzzle in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 389-405, April.
- Racine, Jeff & Li, Qi, 2004. "Nonparametric estimation of regression functions with both categorical and continuous data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 99-130, March.
- Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 2003.
"Explaining the dramatic changes in performance of US banks: technological change, deregulation, and dynamic changes in competition,"
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 57-95, January.
- Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 2002. "Explaining the dramatic changes in performance of U.S. banks: technological change, deregulation, and dynamic changes in competition," Working Papers 01-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 2001. "Explaining the Dramatic Changes in Performance of U.S. Banks: Technological Change, Deregulation and Dynamic Changes in Competition," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-22, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
- Guilkey, David K & Lovell, C A Knox & Sickles, Robin C, 1983. "A Comparison of the Performance of Three Flexible Functional Forms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 591-616, October.
- Gallant, A. Ronald, 1982. "Unbiased determination of production technologies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 285-323, November.
- Jianqing Fan & Theo Gasser & Irène Gijbels & Michael Brockmann & Joachim Engel, 1997. "Local Polynomial Regression: Optimal Kernels and Asymptotic Minimax Efficiency," Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Springer;The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, vol. 49(1), pages 79-99, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-054. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anna Xiao)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.