Bank Integration and State Business Cycles
43 Pages Posted: 18 May 2003 Last revised: 1 Nov 2010
Date Written: May 2003
We investigate how the better integration of U.S. banks across states has affected economic volatility within states. In theory, the link between bank integration and volatility is ambiguous; integration tends to dampen the impact of bank capital shocks on state activity, but it amplifies the impact of firm collateral shocks. Empirically, the net effect has been stabilizing as year-to-year fluctuations in employment growth within states fall as that state's banks become better integrated (via holding companies) with banks in other states. The magnitudes are large, and the effects are most pronounced in states with relatively undiversified economies. Consistent with our model, we find the link between economic growth and bank capital within a state weakens with integration, whereas the link between growth and housing prices (a possible proxy for firm capital) tends to increase.
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