SCP Model & RE Hypothesis: Understanding Banking Competition

SCP Model & RE Hypothesis: Understanding Banking Competition

Competition is a crucial aspect of the banking industry, impacting how banks operate and perform. To better understand competition in banking, researchers have developed two models: the Structure-Conduct-Performance (SCP) model and the Relative Efficiency (RE) hypothesis. In this blog post, we will explore these models, compare their key features, and discuss their implications for competition in banking.

The Structure-Conduct-Performance (SCP) Model

The SCP model examines how changes in the market structure of the banking industry influence banks’ behavior and performance. It suggests that when fewer banks are in the market and have more control, they tend to charge higher prices for their services, leading to increased profitability. Let’s see how the SCP model compares to the RE hypothesis in the table below:

The Relative Efficiency (RE) Hypothesis

The RE hypothesis emphasizes the significance of efficiency in determining banks’ profitability. It suggests that banks with higher levels of efficiency can outperform their competitors and achieve higher profits. The RE hypothesis is not directly concerned with market structure or conduct but focuses on the efficiency-performance relationship.

Comparing the SCP Model and the RE Hypothesis

The table below highlights the key differences between the SCP model and the RE hypothesis;

IssueSCP ModelRE Hypothesis
FocusExamines the impact of market structureEmphasizes the role of efficiency in determining profitability
Market ConcentrationHigher concentration of banksNot directly addressed
Bank BehaviorBanks with market power set higher pricesMore efficient banks offer lower prices or higher output
PerformanceHigher profitability due to market powerHigher profitability due to greater efficiency
MergersDiscouraged if they increase market concentrationEncouraged if they enhance efficiency in the banking market

The SCP model centers around the impact of market structure on bank behavior and performance, whereas the RE hypothesis underscores the importance of efficiency in determining profitability.

While the SCP model examines the relationship between concentration, conduct, and performance, the RE hypothesis concentrates on the link between efficiency, conduct (lower prices or higher output), and performance.

Implications and Real-Life Examples

The SCP model suggests that mergers should be discouraged when they lead to increased market concentration and reduced competition.

On the other hand, the RE hypothesis proposes that mergers should be encouraged if they enhance efficiency within the banking market. Real-life examples and empirical studies provide valuable insights into the implications of these models and their relevance in the banking industry.


Understanding competition in the banking industry requires examining various models, such as the SCP model and the RE hypothesis.

While the SCP model focuses on the impact of market structure, conduct, and performance, the RE hypothesis emphasizes the role of efficiency in determining banks’ profitability. By comparing these models, we gain valuable insights into competition dynamics and can make more informed decisions and policies in the banking sector.