Bank ownership and efficiency in post-conflict era: evidence from Sri Lanka
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This paper aims to explore the changes in efficiency of state-owned, domestic private and foreign banks in Sri Lanka after the ending of the 26 year long armed-conflict between the government and ethnic Tamil rebels in 2009. (The Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for a separate state called "Tamil Eelam" from 1983 to 2009. Government forces defeated the LTTE rebels in mid-2009 through military operations and capturing all the land belonging to their de facto state for more than a decade.) Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) along with the bootstrap simulation technique is employed to derive bank-wise efficiency scores. Two approaches, namely the intermediation and operating approaches, are used to measure the efficiency of banks and to analyse banking performance from multiple perspectives. The results show that, under the inter-mediation approach, in general state-owned banks were less efficient than domestic private banks in 2009 and 2010, but the relative efficiency of state-owned banks improved in 2011 and 2012 surpassing both domestic private and foreign banks. In contrast our results reveal that under the profit-oriented operating approach, state-owned and foreign banks show superior average efficiency than domestic private banks. The findings reflect the strong positioning of state-owned banks, in line with the post-conflict economic expansion of Sri Lanka, in providing efficient banking services.