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What Drives the Efficiency of Selected MENA Banks? A Meta-Frontier Analysis

Sami Ben Naceur (), Hichem Ben-Khedhiri and Barbara Casu

No 499, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: In the past two decades, both developed and developing countries have deregulated their banking and financial systems with the aim of improving the efficiency, productivity and profitability of the sectors and increasing international competitiveness. This study attempts to examine the effect of institutional and financial variables on the banking industry performance of selected Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries. Evaluating bank efficiency in a non-parametric setting (Data Envelopment Analysis, DEA), we then employ a second-stage Tobit regression to investigate the impact of regulatory variables on banks’ efficiency. The first stage indicates that Morocco and Tunisia have more efficient banking systems compared to the other selected MENA countries, although banks in Jordan seem to catch up with best practice from 2003 onwards. The Tobit regressions show a robust association of some environmental measures with cost efficiency. In this context, our results reveal that higher bank efficiency in our sample is influenced by the quality of the legal system, well capitalized and liquid banks. We also find that banking sector development measured by credit to private sector by banks in low regulated environments—like the one in our sample countries—tends to reduce bank efficiency. However, the impact of stock market development is positive and significant in all specification confirming the complementary role of bank and capital market. Besides, a highly concentrated banking sector in our sample reduces significantly the efficiency of banks. Finally, efficiency is improving in our sample thanks to the financial reforms variables not accounted for in our control variables and Egyptian banks display the lowest efficiency in the region for the entire sample period.

Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2009-08, Revised 2009-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara, nep-ban, nep-cwa and nep-eff
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