Does competition in the EU banking market lead to lower interest margins? : A panel data analysis on how market competition affects banks interest margin across EU countries

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Nationalekonomi; Södertörns högskola/Nationalekonomi

Abstract: This study analyses the bank market competition and bank interest margins in the European Union member countries banking sector during the period 2007–2019, using panel data analysis and aggregated data for each country ́s banking sector. Our starting point is the theory about market structure and two structural indexes are used as proxies of the degree of market competition. The methodology is based on the model developed by Ho and Saunders (1981), where the bank is viewed as a risk averse dealer amongst borrowers and lenders. This model has later been extended to fit analyses on nationally aggregated levels, which is appropriate in this study. The result show that bank concentration is not statistically significant in explaining variability of interest margin in the EU banking sectors. Instead, the statistically significant determinants of interest margins are more bank specific variables, such as average operating cost and credit risk. Although this study cannot claim economic significance, it provides information that economic policies should be designed to lower average operating cost rather than market competition, in order to lower interest margin.

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