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Bank Organization, Market Structure and Risk Taking: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Commercial Banks

This paper examines (1) the change in commercial banks’ risk taking as states in the United States removed restrictions on bank branching within state borders and (2) the channels through which the removal of these restrictions affect bank risk taking. I find that, after the liberalization of branching restrictions, banks that do not expand their branch network into other markets decrease risk taking, while expanding banks do not change risk taking. Existing theories, which focus on the importance of market structure on risk taking, are not able to explain this pattern. Therefore I provide a theoretical framework, building on theories from organizational economics, which can account for this by showing that non-expanding banks have a comparative advantage in lending to informationally difficult borrowers, which induces them to lower risk taking as competitors expand. Empirical evidence supports this channel and highlights the importance of borrower information, since nonexpanding banks decrease risk taking more as competitors expand if they operate in a county with more informationally difficult borrowers.

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Paper provided by Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute in its series NFI Working Papers with number 2011-WP-11.

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Length: 73 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nfi:nfiwps:2011-wp-11
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  1. Astrid A. Dick, 2006. "Nationwide Branching and Its Impact on Market Structure, Quality, and Bank Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(2), pages 567-592, March.
  2. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine & Alexey Levkov, 2010. "Big Bad Banks? The Winners and Losers from Bank Deregulation in the United States," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(5), pages 1637-1667, October.
  3. Mark Carlson & Kris James Mitchener, 2005. "Branch Banking, Bank Competition, and Financial Stability," NBER Working Papers 11291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John H. Boyd & Gianni De Nicolã, 2005. "The Theory of Bank Risk Taking and Competition Revisited," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1329-1343, 06.
  5. Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Marquez, Robert, 2004. "Information and bank credit allocation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 185-214, April.
  6. Hannan, Timothy H. & Prager, Robin A., 2004. "The competitive implications of multimarket bank branching," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1889-1914, August.
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  8. Stephen A. Rhoades, 2000. "Bank mergers and banking structure in the United States, 1980-98," Staff Studies 174, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. David Martinez-Miera & Rafael Repullo, 2010. "Does Competition Reduce the Risk of Bank Failure?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(10), pages 3638-3664, October.
  10. Yuliya Demyanyk & Charlotte Ostergaard & Bent E. Sørensen, 2006. "FU.S. banking deregulation, small businesses, and interstate insurance of personal income," Working Paper 2006/09, Norges Bank.
  11. Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Information Production and Capital Allocation: Decentralized versus Hierarchical Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 1891-1921, October.
  12. Ramirez, Carlos D., 2003. "Did branch banking restrictions increase bank failures? Evidence from Virginia and West Virginia in the late 1920s," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 331-352.
  13. Claessens, Stijn & Laeven, Luc, 2002. "Financial development, property rights, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2924, The World Bank.
  14. Adam B. Ashcraft, 2008. "Are Bank Holding Companies a Source of Strength to Their Banking Subsidiaries?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 273-294, 03.
  15. Bongini, Paola & Laeven, Luc & Majnoni, Giovanni, 2002. "How good is the market at assessing bank fragility? A horse race between different indicators," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1011-1028, May.
  16. John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
  17. David C. Wheelock & Paul W. Wilson, 1995. "Why do banks disappear? The determinants of U.S. bank failures and acquisitions," Working Papers 1995-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  18. Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Rating Banks: Risk and Uncertainty in an Opaque Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 874-888, September.
  19. Pita Barros, Pedro, 1999. "Multimarket competition in banking, with an example from the Portuguese market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 335-352, April.
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