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Has the U.S. Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation

Thomas Philippon ()

No 9792, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: A quantitative investigation of financial intermediation in the U.S. over the past 130 years yields the following results : (i) the finance industry’s share of GDP is high in the 1920s, low in the 1950s and 1960s, and high again in the 1990s and 2000s; (ii) most of these variations can be explained by corresponding changes in the quantity of intermediated assets (equity, household and corporate debt, assets yielding liquidity services); (iii) intermediation is produced under constant returns to scale with an annual average cost comprised between 1.5% and 2% of outstanding assets; (iv) quality adjustments that take into account changes in the characteristics of firms and households are quantitatively important; and (v) the unit cost of intermediation has not decreased over the past 30 years.

Keywords: economic growth; informativeness; investment; price efficiency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E2 G2 N2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
Date: 2014-01
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Related works:
Journal Article: Has the US Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Has the U.S. Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation (2012) Downloads
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