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Banking systems around the globe : do regulation and ownership affect the performance and stability?

  • Barth, James R.
  • Caprio, Gerard
  • Levine, Ross

The authors report cross-country data on commercial bank regulation and ownership in more than 60 countries. They evaluate the links between different regulatory/ownership practices in those countries and both financial sector performance and banking system stability. They document substantial variation in response to these questions: Should it be public policy to limit the powers of commercial banks to engage in securities, insurance, and real estate activities? Should the mixing of banking and commerce be restricted by regulating commercial bank's ownership of non-financial firms and non-financial firms'ownership of commercial banks? Should states own commercial banks, or should those banks be privatized? They find: 1) There is no reliable statistical relationship between restrictions on commercial banks'ability to engage in securities, insurance, and real estate transactions and how well-developed the banking sector, how well-developed securities markets and non-bank financial intermediaries are, or the degree of industrial competition. Based on the evidence, it is difficult to argue confidently that restricting commercial banking activities benefits-or harms-the development of financial and securities markets or industrial competition. 2) There are no positive effects from mixing banking and commerce. 3) Countries that more tightly restrict and regulate the securities activities of commercial banks are substantially more likely to suffer a major banking crisis. Countries whose national regulations inhibit banks'ability to engage in securities underwriting, brokering, and dealing--and all aspects of the mutual fund business--tend to have more fragile financial systems. 4) The mixing of banking and commerce is associated with less financial stability. The evidence does not support admonitions to restrict the mixing of banking and commerce because mixing them will increase financial fragility. 5) On average, greater state ownership of banks tends to be associated with more poorly developed banks, nonbanks, and stock markets and more poorly functioning financial systems.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2325.

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Date of creation: 30 Apr 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2325
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  1. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
  2. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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  4. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara, 1996. "Stock markets, banks, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1690, The World Bank.
  5. Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman & Beck, Thorsten, 2000. "Financial intermediation and growth: Causality and causes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 31-77, August.
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  8. White, Eugene Nelson, 1986. "Before the Glass-Steagall Act: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 33-55, January.
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  12. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  13. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  14. John H. Boyd & Chun Chang & Bruce D. Smith, 1998. "Moral hazard under commercial and universal banking," Working Papers 585, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. João Santos, 1998. "Commercial Banks in the Securities Business: A Review," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 35-60, July.
  16. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Financial Dependence and Growth," CRSP working papers 344, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  17. Ross Levine, 2002. "Bank-Based or Market-Based Financial Systems: Which is Better?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 442, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  18. King, Robert G & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 717-37, August.
  19. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999. "Finance and the sources of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2057, The World Bank.
  20. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  21. Simon H. Kwan & Elizabeth S. Laderman, 1999. "On the portfolio effects of financial convergence - a review of the literature," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 18-31.
  22. S. Mishkin, Frederic, 1999. "Financial consolidation: Dangers and opportunities," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2-4), pages 675-691, February.
  23. Gertler, Mark, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 559-88, August.
  24. João A.C. Santos, 1998. "Banking and commerce: how does the United States compare to other countries?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q IV, pages 14-26.
  25. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance, entrepreneurship and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 513-542, December.
  26. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
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