Is There a Diversification Discount in Financial Conglomerates?

61 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2005

See all articles by Luc Laeven

Luc Laeven

European Central Bank (ECB); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ross Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

This paper investigates whether the diversity of activities conducted by financial institutions influences their market valuations. We find that there is a diversification discount: The market values financial conglomerates that engage in multiple activities, e.g., lending and non-lending financial services, lower than if those financial conglomerates were broken into financial intermediaries that specialize in the individual activities. While difficult to identify a single causal factor, the results are consistent with theories that stress intensified agency problems in financial conglomerates that engage in multiple activities and indicate that economies of scope are not sufficiently large to produce a diversification premium.

Keywords: Corporate diversification, banking, economies of scope, agency costs

JEL Classification: G20, G30, L20

Suggested Citation

Laeven, Luc A. and Levine, Ross Eric, Is There a Diversification Discount in Financial Conglomerates? (July 2005). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5121, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=781365

Luc A. Laeven (Contact Author)

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Ross Eric Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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