172 - Location Decisions of Foreign Banks and Institutional Competitive Advantage

DNB Working Papers
Date 10 April 2008

Familiarity with working in a specific institutional environment compared to its competitors can provide a firm with a competitive advantage, making it invest in specific host countries. We examine whether this notion of institutional competitive advantage drives banks to seek out specific markets. Using detailed, bilateral data of bank ownership for a large number of countries over 1995-2006 and using a first-difference model, we find that institutional competitive advantage importantly drives banks’ location decisions. Results are robust to different samples and model specifications, various econometric techniques and alternative measures of institutional quality. This finding has some policy implications, including on the increased cross-border banking among developing countries. JEL Classification Codes: F21, F23, G21, Keywords: foreign direct investment, international banking, institutions.