Distance and International Banking

This paper asks how important distance is as a determinant of international banking and whether distance has become less important over time. If technological progress has lowered information costs and if information costs increase in distance, the importance of distance should have declined. I use data on assets and liabilities of commercial banks from five countries (France, Germany, Italy, UK, and US) in 50 host countries for the years 1983–99 to test this hypothesis. Generally, I find that banks hold significantly lower assets in distant markets and that the importance of distance for the foreign asset holdings of banks has not changed.

16. September 2005

Authors Claudia M. Buch

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