The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper provides the first empirical analysis of the cross-country relationship between a direct measure of competitive conduct of financial institutions and banking system fragility. Using the Panzar and Rosse H-Statistic as a measure for competition in 38 countries during 1980-2003, we present evidence that more competitive banking systems are less prone to systemic crises and that time to crisis is longer in a competitive environment. Our results hold when concentration and the regulatory environment are controlled for and are robust to different methodologies, different sampling periods, and alternative samples.