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Has the U.S. Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation

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  • Thomas Philippon

Abstract

I provide a quantitative interpretation of financial intermediation in the U.S. over the past 130 years. Measuring separately the cost of intermediation and the production of financial services, I find that: (i) the quantity of intermediation varies a lot over time; (ii) intermediation is produced under constant returns to scale; (iii) the annual cost of intermediation is around 2% of outstanding assets; (iv) adjustments for borrowers' quality are quantitatively important; and (v) the unit cost of intermediation has increased over the past 30 years.

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  • Thomas Philippon, 2012. "Has the U.S. Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation," NBER Working Papers 18077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18077
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    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions

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