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This work was accepted as a dissertation by the University of Muenster, Germany, in 2004. It was written while I was a teaching and research assistant at the Department of Banking. I own many debts - personal and intellectual - to Professor Dr. Andreas Pfingsten, my doctoral adviser, for his overall support while I was writing my dissertation. This thesis benefited much from his constructive criticism. I am also grateful that Professor Dr. Klaus Roder, Department of Finance, University of Regensburg, Germany, acted as my second advisor. Furthermore, I want to thank Dr. Alistair Milne, Sir John Cass Business School, City University, Great Britain, since he assisted me during a crucial phase of my dissertation project while I was staying as a visiting scholar at the Marie Curie Training Site in Corporate Finance, Capital Markets and Banking at Cass. This five month visit in London was financially supported by the European Commission (Fellowship Ref. No. HPMT-GH-01-00330-04). I am also indebted to my previous colleagues, mainly Dr. Hendrik Hakenes and Dr. Markus Ricke, for their encouragement and helpful discussions throughout my whole dissertation project. The dissertation also benefited from comments on a first working paper about the dissertation's topic by participants of research seminars at the Universities of Constance, Tuebingen and Osnabrueck, Germany, and at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the European Economic Association, Stockholm, Sweden.