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DOES MONOPOLISTIC COMPETITION EXIST IN THE MENA REGION? EVIDENCE FROM THE BANKING SECTOR

Michael Polemis ()

Bulletin of Economic Research, 2015, vol. 67, issue S1, S74-S96

Abstract: type="main"> The goal of this paper is to empirically assess the level of banking competition in selected Middle East and Northern African (MENA) countries. The analysis employs the estimation of a non-structural indicator (H-statistic) introduced by Panzar and Rosse and draws upon a panel dataset of eight MENA countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) over the period 1997–2012. The empirical findings are robust towards three different panel data econometric techniques (Ordinary Least Squares, Pooled Generalized Least Squares with Fixed Effects, and Generalized Method of Moments) and consistent with other similar studies, providing sufficient evidence in favour of a banking monopolistic competition regime. Furthermore, the estimation of three other alternative measures of competition (Lerner index, adjusted Lerner index, and conduct parameter) provides similar results, revealing that the banking sector in the MENA region is characterized by a low level of Significant Market Power (SMP). Overall, the analysis shows that, despite similarities in the process of financial regulatory reforms undertaken in the eight MENA countries, the observed competition levels of banks vary substantially, with Algeria and Morocco consistently outperforming the rest of the region.

Date: 2015
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