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Is There an Optimal Size for the Financial Sector

  • Anthony M. Santomero
  • John J. Seater

This paper derives the optimal size of the financial sector using a general equilibrium framework that is an extension of Holmstrom and Tirole's 1997 paper. We show that the financial sector has a unique optimal size relative to the size of the economy as a whole. Creating and maintaining this sector requires diversion of some physical capital from production of output to monitoring that production. However, the efficiency gain in output production brought about by monitoring warrants the diversion. It is also found that the optimal size of the financial sector is independent of the state of the economy and does not vary over the business cycle.

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File URL: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/98/9835.pdf
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Paper provided by Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania in its series Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers with number 98-35.

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Date of creation: Feb 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:98-35
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  1. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, . "Optimal Security Design," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 26-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  3. Franklin Allen & Anthony M. Santomero, 1996. "The Theory of Financial Intermediation," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1990. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 87-114, February.
  5. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  6. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and the Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-91, August.
  7. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  8. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-87, May.
  9. Bernanke, Ben S, 1981. "Bankruptcy, Liquidity, and Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 155-59, May.
  10. Fama, Eugene F., 1985. "What's different about banks?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 29-39, January.
  11. Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
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