4,334 research outputs found

    Pension systems and financial systems in Europe: a comparison from the point of view of complementarity : [Version July 2001]

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    At present, the question of how national pension or retirement payment systems should be organised is being hotly debated in various countries, and opinions vary widely as to what should be regarded as the optimal design for such systems. It appears to the authors of the present paper that in this entire discussion one aspect is largely overlooked: What relationships exist between the pension system and the financial system in a given country? As such relationships might prove to be important, the present paper investigates the following questions: (1) Are there differences between the national pension systems of three major European countries – Germany, France and the U.K. – and between the financial systems of these countries? (2) And if the existence of such differences can be demonstrated, is there a correspondence between the differences with respect to the various national pension systems and the differences as regards the countries’ financial systems? (3) And if such a correspondence exists, is there any kind of interrelationship between the national financial and pension systems of the individual countries which goes beyond a mere correspondence? Looking mainly at two aspects – namely, risk allocation and the incentives to create human capital – the authors of this paper argue (1) that there are indeed considerable differences between the financial and pension systems of the three countries; (2) that in both Germany and the U.K. there are also systematic correspondences between the respective pension systems and financial systems and their economic characteristics, but that such a correspondence cannot be identified in the case of France; and (3) that these parallels are, in the final analysis, based on complementarities and are therefore likely to contribute to the efficiency of the German and the British systems. The paper concludes with a brief look at policy implications which the existence of, or the lack of, consistency between national pension systems and national financial systems might have

    Information theory and the role of intermediaries in corporate governance

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    We investigate the connection between corporate governance system configurations and the role of intermediaries in the respective systems from a informational perspective. Building on the economics of information we show that it is meaningful to distinguish between internalisation and externalisation as two fundamentally different ways of dealing with information in corporate governance systems. This lays the groundwork for a description of two types of corporate governance systems, i.e. insider control system and outsider control system, in which we focus on the distinctive role of intermediaries in the production and use of information. It will be argued that internalisation is the prevailing mode of information processing in insider control system while externalisation dominates in outsider control system. We also discuss shortly the interrelations between the prevailing corporate governance system and types of activities or industry structures supported

    Disintermediation and the role of banks in Europe : an international comparison ; paper prepared for the Symposium on "The Design of Financial Systems and Markets" at the University of Amsterdam, June 1998

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    The paper presents an empirical analysis of the alledged transformation of the financial systems in the three major European economies, France, Germany and the UK. Based on a unified data set developed on the basis of national accounts statistics, and employing a new and consistent method of measurement, the following questions are addressed: Is there a common pattern of structural change; do banks lose importance in the process of change; and are the three financial systems becoming more similar? We find that there is neither a general trend towards disintermediation, nor towards a transformation from bank-based to capital market-based financial systems, nor for a loss of importance of banks. Only in the case of France strong signs of transformation as well as signs of a general decline in the role of banks could be found. Thus the three financial systems also do not seem to become more similar. However, there is also a common pattern of change: the intermediation chains are lengthening in all three countries. Nonbank financial intermediaries are taking over a more important role as mobilizers of capital from the non-financial sectors. In combination with the trend towards securitization of bank liabilites, this change increases the funding costs of banks and may put banks under pressure. In the case of France, this change is so pronounced that it might even threaten the stability of the financial system

    The convergence of financial systems in Europe

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    Since the beginning of the 1990s, it has been widely expected that the implementation of the European Single Market would lead to a rapid convergence of Europe’s financial systems. In the present paper we will show that at least in the period prior to the introduction of the common currency this expected convergence did not materialise. Our empirical studies on the significance of various institutions within the financial sectors, on the financing patterns of firms in various countries and on the predominant mechanisms of corporate governance, which are summarised and placed in a broader context in this paper, point to few, if any, signs of a convergence at a fundamental or structural level between the German, British and French financial systems. The German financial system continues to appear to be bank-dominated, while the British system still appears to be capital market-dominated. During the period covered by the research, i.e. 1980 – 1998, the French system underwent the most far-reaching changes, and today it is difficult to classify. In our opinion, these findings can be attributed to the effects of strong path dependencies, which are in turn an outgrowth of relationships of complementarity between the individual system components. Projecting what we have observed into the future, the results of our research indicate that one of two alternative paths of development is most likely to materialise: either the differences between the national financial systems will persist, or – possibly as a result of systemic crises – one financial system type will become the dominant model internationally. And if this second path emerges, the Anglo-American, capital market-dominated system could turn out to be the “winner”, because it is better able to withstand and weather crises, but not necessarily because it is more efficient
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