Banking Competition: Comparison of Public and Private Bank Behavior

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Tiago Sammarco Martins
Adriana Bruscato Bortoluzzo
Sérgio Giovanetti Lazzarini


Public banks are an important part of the banking market in Brazil and abroad, and they have been used to implement strategies furthering political and social goals. Although one of the main arguments for the existence of public banks is to encourage competition, this role remains controversial in literature. This paper analyzes the Brazilian banking market during the period from 2000 to 2011, calculating the level of competition between private and public banks, and their reactions to the measures adopted by the Brazilian government during the world crisis of 2008, when the government adopted a policy of publicly influencing public banks to increase loan approvals and reduce interest rates. From results obtained through three stage least squares estimation of the Lerner index, we found that public banks exhibit behavior closer to perfect competition than private banks, even though they can exert some market power. We also observed a change in competitive behavior after the 2008 crisis for both public and private banks, which displayed an increased in pro-competitive behavior.


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Martins, T. S., Bortoluzzo, A. B., & Lazzarini, S. G. (2018). Banking Competition: Comparison of Public and Private Bank Behavior. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 18(spe), 86-108.