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Economies of Scale and Efficiency in European Banking: New Evidence

  • Wagenvoort, Rien

    ()

    (European Investment Bank, Economic and Financial Studies)

  • Schure, Paul

    (European University Institute in Florence)

This paper investigates the cost efficiency of 1974 credit institutions across 15 European countries over the five-year period following the implementation of the Second Banking Directive in 1993. The Recursive Thick Frontier Approach is employed to estimate a Augmented Cobb-Douglas cost frontier that allows banks of different types, in different periods, and belonging to different size categories, to operate at different costs per unit of assets. As size economies are exhausted at a balance sheet total of EUR 600 million, we do not find major economic gains from economies of scale for the overall European banking industry. However, the saving bank sector may reduce average costs with roughly 6% by choosing an optimal size for its institutions. No impact of technological progress on the average costs of the full sample of X-efficient banks could be detected but managerial efficient saving banks reduced average costs with 9% during our sample period. The most important reason for inefficiencies in the European banking is managerial inability to control costs. Although in some countries such as the UK and The Netherlands cost reductions were rapidly achieved, the average level of X-inefficiency of European banks still exceeded 16% in 1997.

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Paper provided by European Investment Bank, Economics Department in its series Economic and Financial Reports with number 1999/1.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:eibefr:1999_001
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  1. Sealey, Calvin W, Jr & Lindley, James T, 1977. "Inputs, Outputs, and a Theory of Production and Cost at Depository Financial Institutions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1251-66, September.
  2. Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "Inside the black box: what explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Working Papers 97-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Mester, Loretta J., 1996. "A study of bank efficiency taking into account risk-preferences," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1025-1045, July.
  4. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: international survey and directions for future research," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  6. Vennet, Rudi Vander, 1996. "The effect of mergers and acquisitions on the efficiency and profitability of EC credit institutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1531-1558, November.
  7. Wagenvoort, Rien & Schure, Paul, 1999. "The Recursive Thick Frontier Approach to Estimating Efficiency," Economic and Financial Reports 1999/2, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  8. DeYoung, Robert & Hasan, Iftekhar, 1998. "The performance of de novo commercial banks: A profit efficiency approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 565-587, May.
  9. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 1998. "Bank Capitalization And Cost: Evidence Of Scale Economies In Risk Management And Signaling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 314-325, May.
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  11. Berger, Allen N, 1995. "The Profit-Structure Relationship in Banking--Tests of Market-Power and Efficient-Structure Hypotheses," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 404-31, May.
  12. Goldberg, Lawrence G. & Rai, Anoop, 1996. "The structure-performance relationship for European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 745-771, May.
  13. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  14. McAllister, Patrick H. & McManus, Douglas, 1993. "Resolving the scale efficiency puzzle in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 389-405, April.
  15. Lang, Gunter & Welzel, Peter, 1996. "Efficiency and technical progress in banking Empirical results for a panel of German cooperative banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1003-1023, July.
  16. Joaquín Maudos Villarroya, 1996. "Market structure and performance in Spanish banking using a direct measure of efficiency," Working Papers. Serie EC 1996-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  17. Berger, Allen N. & Hunter, William C. & Timme, Stephen G., 1993. "The efficiency of financial institutions: A review and preview of research past, present and future," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 221-249, April.
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