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Re-examining the determinants of bank profitability in Nigeria

Segun Thompson Bolarinwa (Department of Economics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)
Olufemi Bodunde Obembe (Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)
Clement Olaniyi (Department of Economics, Mountain Top University, Ibafo, Nigeria)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 2 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the determinants of bank profitability in Nigeria. Specifically, the study investigates the effect of managerial cost efficiency on bank profitability. Also, since there exist mixed results and controversies in the literature, in both developed and developing countries, regarding the effect of efficiency on bank profitability, this study employs the standard measure of efficiency. In addition, the work incorporates the role of persistence, which is often neglected in the literature in developing countries.


This study employs system generalized method of moments.


The findings, using the case of Nigeria, show that cost efficiency is a strong determinant of bank profitability in developing countries. In addition, the profitability of banks in Nigeria persists over time; hence, the industry is fairly competitive.

Research limitations/implications

The recent policies of banking industry recapitalization meant to increase profitability and stability in Nigeria and other African countries’ banking industry will not be effective if the issue of managerial efficiency is not properly addressed.

Practical implications

Improving the banking managerial efficiency will positively reduce bad loans, hence leading to the stability in the banking system.


The authors introduce efficiency using standard measure of stochastic frontier analysis for its measurement. Also, this study introduces the role of persistence in the literature in developing countries.



Bolarinwa, S.T., Obembe, O.B. and Olaniyi, C. (2019), "Re-examining the determinants of bank profitability in Nigeria", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 633-651.



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