Economies of Scale and Economies of Scope in Multiproduct Financial Institutions: A Study of British Columbia Credit Unions

  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 887-902
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1983.tb02508.x


This paper investigates the production technology facing computerized credit unions in Canada. A full system of translog cost equations is estimated in order to test for economies of scale, economies of scope, and other production characteristics in a multiproduct context. The regression results indicate that most of the credit unions in our sample experience significant increasing returns to scale as they expand their level of output. There is also evidence of cost complementarity or economies of scope in their mortgage and other lending activities. As a result, legislation which limits the ability of credit unions to grow and diversify will likely raise the operating costs of this important group of financial institutions. Additional structural tests of the most general translog specification suggest that none of the restrictive production conditions commonly imposed by other researchers using Cobb‐Douglas and CES specifications provide a valid representation of credit union technology. The results of many earlier studies are therefore open to question.

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