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The impact of bank regulations, concentration, and institutions on bank margins


  • Demirguc, Asli
  • Laeven, Luc
  • Levine, Ross


This paper examines the impact of bank regulations, concentration, inflation, and national institutions on bank net interest margins using data from over 1,400 banks across 72 countries while controlling for bank-specific characteristics. The data indicate that tighter regulations on bank entry and bank activities boost net interest margins. Inflation also exerts a robust, positive impact on bank margins. While concentration is positively associated with net interest margins, this relationship breaks down when controlling for regulatory impediments to competition and inflation. Furthermore, bank regulations become insignificant when controlling for national indicators of economic freedom or property rights protection, while these institutional indicators robustly explain cross-bank net interest margins. So, bank regulations cannot be viewed in isolation. They reflect broad, national approaches to private property and competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Demirguc, Asli & Laeven, Luc & Levine, Ross, 2003. "The impact of bank regulations, concentration, and institutions on bank margins," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3030, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3030

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arnold, Ivo J.M. & van Ewijk, Saskia E., 2012. "The quest for growth: The impact of bank strategy on interest margins," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 18-27.
    2. Donato Masciandaro & María J. Nieto & Henriëtte Prast, 2007. "Financial governance of banking supervision," Working Papers 0725, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    3. Carol Ann Northcott, 2004. "Competition in Banking: A Review of the Literature," Staff Working Papers 04-24, Bank of Canada.
    4. Gianni De Nicolo & Sami Geadah & Dmitriy L Rozhkov, 2003. "Financial Development in the CIS-7 Countries; Bridging the Great Divide," IMF Working Papers 03/205, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Beck, Thorsten & Fuchs, Michael, 2004. "Structural issues in the Kenyan financial system: improving competition and access," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3363, The World Bank.
    6. Meriem Haouat & Diego N. Moccero & Ramiro Sosa Navarro, 2012. "Foreign Banks and Credit Volatility: The Case of Latin American Countries," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 1017-1033, November.
    7. Chortareas, Georgios E. & Garza-García, Jesús G. & Girardone, Claudia, 2012. "Competition, efficiency and interest rate margins in Latin American banking," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 93-103.
    8. Ross Levine, 2004. "Denying Foreign Bank Entry: Implications for Bank Interest Margins," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Antonio Ahumada & J. Rodrigo Fuentes & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking Market Structure and Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 7, chapter 9, pages 271-292 Central Bank of Chile.
    9. Hella Engerer, 2006. "Vom Dreisäulensystem zum Baustein des europäischen Hauses: Wandel von Eigentum und Wettbewerb im deutschen Bankensektor," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 75(4), pages 11-32.
    10. Barroso, Ricardo Vieira & Lima, Joaquim Ignacio Alves Vasconcellos & Lucchetti, Alexandre Henrique & Cajueiro, Daniel Oliveira, 2016. "Interbank network and regulation policies: an analysis through agent-based simulations with adaptive learning," MPRA Paper 73308, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Koffie Ben Nassar & Edder Martinez & Anabel Pineda, 2014. "Determinants of Banks' Net Interest Margins in Honduras," IMF Working Papers 14/163, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Ross Levine, 2003. "More on finance and growth: more finance, more growth?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 31-46.
    13. Joe Crowley, 2007. "Interest Rate Spreads in English-Speaking African Countries," IMF Working Papers 07/101, International Monetary Fund.


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