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Who said large banks don't experience scale economies? Evidence from a risk-return-driven cost function

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph P. Hughes
  • Loretta J. Mester

Abstract

Earlier studies found little evidence of scale economies at large banks; later studies using data from the 1990s uncovered such evidence, providing a rationale for very large banks seen worldwide. Using more recent data, the authors estimate scale economies using two production models. The standard risk-neutral model finds little evidence of scale economies. The model using more general risk preferences and endogenous risk-taking finds large scale economies. The authors show that these economies are not driven by too-big-to-fail considerations. They evaluate the cost implications of breaking up the largest banks into banks of smaller size.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 2011. "Who said large banks don't experience scale economies? Evidence from a risk-return-driven cost function," Working Papers 11-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-27
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 2008. "Efficiency in banking: theory, practice, and evidence," Working Papers 08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    3. Elijah Brewer & Julapa Jagtiani, 2013. "How Much Did Banks Pay to Become Too-Big-To-Fail and to Become Systemically Important?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-35, February.
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    5. Joseph P. Hughes & William W. Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1996. "Efficient banking under interstate branching," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 1045-1075.
    6. Joseph Hughes & William Lang & Loretta Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 2000. "Recovering Risky Technologies Using the Almost Ideal Demand System: An Application to U.S. Banking," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, pages 5-27.
    7. Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Inside the black box: What explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 895-947, July.
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    18. Erel, Isil & Nadauld, Taylor & Stulz, Rene M., 2011. "Why Did U.S. Banks Invest in Highly-Rated Securitization Tranches?," Working Paper Series 2011-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
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    Keywords

    Production (Economic theory) ; Risk ; Systemic risk ; Banks and banking;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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