• D24;
  • G21;
  • G28
  • banks;
  • Basel II;
  • productivity;
  • regulations

This paper examines the relationship between the regulatory and supervision framework, and the productivity of banks in 22 countries over the period 1999–2009. We follow a semiparametric two-step approach that combines Malmquist index estimates with bootstrap regressions. The results indicate that regulations and incentives that promote private monitoring (PMON) have a positive impact on productivity. Restrictions on banks’ activities relating to their involvement in securities, insurance, real estate, and ownership of nonfinancial firms also have a positive impact. Regulations relating to the first and second pillars of Basel II, namely, capital requirements (CAPR) and official supervisory power (SPR) do not have, in general, a statistically significant impact on productivity over the study period although they appear to gain in importance following the onset of the financial crisis in 2007. The latter finding indicates that stringent capital and supervisory standards have positive productivity effects when financial pressures peak. Our results are robust when controlling for various country-specific features and alternative estimation approaches.