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The Value of Risk: Measuring the Service Output of U.S. Commercial Banks


  • Susanto Basu
  • Robert Inklaar
  • J. Christina Wang


Rather than charging direct fees, banks often charge implicitly for their services via interest spreads. As a result, much of bank output has to be estimated indirectly. In contrast to current statistical practice, dynamic optimizing models of banks argue that compensation for bearing systematic risk is not part of bank output. We apply these models and find that between 1997 and 2007, in the U.S. National Accounts, on average, bank output is overestimated by 21 percent and GDP is overestimated by 0.3 percent. Moreover, compared with current methods, our new estimates imply more plausible estimates of the share of capital in income and the return on fixed capital.

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  • Susanto Basu & Robert Inklaar & J. Christina Wang, 2008. "The Value of Risk: Measuring the Service Output of U.S. Commercial Banks," NBER Working Papers 14615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14615
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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