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January 2004

Comparative International Characteristics of Banking (WP 2004-1)

This publication is part of:

Collection: Economics Working Papers Archive


This paper compares key characteristics of banking systems across countries. A basic premise underlying our review is that the increasing globalization of banking and finance mandate a broad, cross-country perspective on banking issues. Indeed, cross-country comparisons can add insight into basic issues in banking that may not emerge, or are only partially discernible, from single-country analyses. With this in mind, we review representative research dealing with four fundamental aspects of international banking: the structure of banking, with emphasis on the connection between the development of the banking system and economic growth; banking industry performance; banking regulation, supervision, and corporate governance; and banking crises. We augment each of these discussions with an examination of the cross-country "landscape" of key dimensions of banking, using data for over 50 countries.


James R. Barth, Gerard Caprio Jr., and Daniel E. Nolle