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Financial Intermediation Costs in Low-Income Countries; The Role of Regulatory, Institutional, and Macroeconomic Factors

  • Tigran Poghosyan

We analyze factors driving persistently higher financial intermediation costs in low-income countries (LICs) relative to emerging market (EMs) country comparators. Using the net interest margin as a proxy for financial intermediation costs at the bank level, we find that within LICs a substantial part of the variation in interest margins can be explained by bank-specific factors: margins tend to increase with higher riskiness of credit portfolio, lower bank capitalization, and smaller bank size. Overall, we find that concentrated market structures and lack of competition in LICs banking systems and institutional weaknesses constitute the key impediments preventing financial intermediation costs from declining. Our results provide strong evidence that policies aimed at fostering banking competition and strengthening institutional frameworks can reduce intermediation costs in LICs.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/140.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 01 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/140
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  1. Fungacova, Zuzana & Poghosyan, Tigran, 2009. "Determinants of bank interest margins in Russia: Does bank ownership matter?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 22/2009, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
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  8. Kazuhiko Hayakawa, 2005. "Small Sample Bias Propreties of the System GMM Estimator in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-82, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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  11. Jayaratne, Jith & Strahan, Philip E, 1996. "The Finance-Growth Nexus: Evidence from Bank Branch Deregulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 639-70, August.
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  13. Ho, Thomas S. Y. & Saunders, Anthony, 1981. "The Determinants of Bank Interest Margins: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 581-600, November.
  14. Beck, Thorsten & Hesse, Heiko, 2009. "Why are interest spreads so high in Uganda?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 192-204, March.
  15. Maudos, Joaquin & Fernandez de Guevara, Juan, 2003. "Factors Explaining the Interest Margin in the Banking Sectors of the European Union," MPRA Paper 15252, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Poghosyan, Tigran, 2010. "Re-examining the impact of foreign bank participation on interest margins in emerging markets," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 390-403, December.
  17. Claessens, Stijn & Demirguc-Kunt, Asl[iota] & Huizinga, Harry, 2001. "How does foreign entry affect domestic banking markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 891-911, May.
  18. Barth, James R. & Caprio Jr, Gerard & Levine, Ross, 2001. "The regulation and supervision of banks around the world - a new database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2588, The World Bank.
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