Are Banks Too Many? A Theoretical Possibility and a Policy Issue




Bank competition; Business cycles; Macroeconomic policy


Motivated by the Blackorby-Schworm (1993) observation that market outcomes may differ from those originating in market-actor optimization, this paper claims that the number of banks in the market is larger than the number justified by bank profit maximization alone or in combination with bank depositor welfare maximization. This claim is made within the context of bilateral monopoly banks and intertemporal utility maximization by bank depositors. The basic policy implication towards bank population rationalization is a minimization of the deviation away from the optimal interest rate margin at every stage of the business cycle. It is meant to be an acyclical policy though the target of optimal bank population is attainable by active countercyclical policy as well. The nature of this policy issue makes the use of macroprudential measures imperative, jointly perhaps with a fiscal-monetary policy mix. A dynamic version of the model in a Cournot environment is akin to the modeling of Minsky's hypothesis of financial fragility.


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How to Cite

Soldatos, G. T., & Varelas, E. (2023). Are Banks Too Many? A Theoretical Possibility and a Policy Issue. Journal of Economic Analysis, 2(1), 37–54.