Why Did High Productivity Growth of Banks Precede the Financial Crisis?
46 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2012
Date Written: December 14, 2012
The observed high levels of banks’ operating efficiency, profi ts and market values in the years before the fi nancial crisis raise reasonable doubts about the information content of conventional performance measures for the accurate assessment of the effi ciency of banking intermediation. In this paper we estimate the productivity of individual Spanish banks and the industry’s productivity growth over time using the methodology of Olley and Pakes (1996) and Levinsohn and Petrin (2003), which controls for simultaneity bias. We then examine the contributions of two sets of factors to productivity growth: banking practices that have been signalled as the proximate causes of the crisis, and technical progress in the industry. We obtain that more than two thirds of the estimated productivity growth in the years 2000-2007 is attributable to practices such as the expansion of the housing market, the high recourse to securitization and short-term fi nance, and the leveraging of banks’ balance sheets. The remaining 2.8% cumulative annual growth rate is our estimate for the technical progress in the industry, similar to the estimated rate in the period 1993-2000.
Keywords: productivity of banks, financial stability production function, IT capital, simultaneity bias
JEL Classification: D24, G21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation