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Foreign banks’ attraction to the financial centre Frankfurt : a "u"-shaped relationship

Abstract

This paper traces the location of foreign banks in Germany from 1949 to 2006. As suggested by new economic geography models we find a ‘u’-shaped concentration of foreign banks in Germany. Only after a competition between several cities, Frankfurt has emerged as the pre-eminent financial centre, triggered by the ‘historical event’ of setting up the German central bank in Frankfurt. After a strong increase, Frankfurt’s share in the location of foreign banks in Germany decreases slowly but significantly since the mid 1980’s. We conclude that there will be a lesser role in Europe for secondtier financial centres in the future

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