Efficiency in Islamic and conventional banking: an international comparison

Mariani Abdul-Majid, David S. Saal, Giuliana Battisti

Research output: Preprint or Working paperWorking paper


The paper investigates the efficiency of a sample of Islamic and conventional banks in 10 countries that operate Islamic banking for the period 1996 to 2002, using an output distance function approach. We obtain measures of efficiency after allowing for environmental influences such as country macroeconomic conditions, accessibility of banking services and bank type. While these factors are assumed to directly influence the shape of the technology, we assume that country dummies directly influence technical inefficiency. The parameter estimates highlight that during the sample period, Islamic banking appear to be associated with higher input usage. Furthermore, by allowing for international differences in the underlying inefficiency distributions, we are also able to demonstrate statistically significant differences in efficiency across countries even after controlling for specific environmental characteristics and Islamic banking. Thus, for example, our results suggest that Sudan and Yemen have relatively higher inefficiency while Iran and Malaysia have lower estimated inefficiency. Except for Sudan, where banks exhibits relatively strong returns to scale, most sample banks exhibit very slight returns to scale, although Islamic banks are found to have moderately higher returns to scale than conventional banks. However while this suggests that Islamic banks may benefit from increased scale, we would emphasize that our results suggest that identifying and overcoming the factors that cause Islamic banks to have relatively high input requirements will be the key challenge for Islamic banking in the coming decades.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBirmingham (UK)
PublisherAston University
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)978-1-85449-733-8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

Publication series

NameAston Business School research papers
PublisherAston University

Bibliographical note

Aston Business School Research Papers are published by the Institute to bring the results of research in progress to a wider audience and to facilitate discussion. They will normally be published in a revised form subsequently and the agreement of the authors should be obtained before referring to its contents in other published works.


  • Islamic banking
  • international efficiency comparison
  • output distance function


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