Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting
AbstractThis paper examines how much capital banks should optimally hold. Our model encompasses different kinds of moral hazard studied in banking: asset substitution (or risk shifting, e.g., making risky, negative net present value loans), managerial rent seeking (e.g., shirking or investing in inefficient “pet” projects that yield private benefits), and the free cash flow problem (manifesting as inefficient consumption of cash for perquisites by the manager). The privately optimal capital structure of the bank balances the benefit of leverage as reflected in the market discipline imposed by uninsured creditors on rent seeking on the one hand and the cost of leverage as reflected in the asset substitution induced at high levels of leverage on the other hand. Under some conditions, the capital structure resolves all the moral hazard problems we study, but under other conditions, the goal of having the market discipline of leverage clashes with the goal of having the benefit of equity capital in attenuating asset substitution moral hazard. In this case, private contracting must tolerate some form of inefficiency and bank value is not maximized as it is in the first best. Despite this, there is no economic rationale for regulation. However, when bank failures are correlated and en masse failures can impose significant social costs, regulators may intervene ex post via bank bailouts. Anticipation of this generates multiple Nash equilibria, one of which features systemic risk in that all banks choose inefficiently high leverage, take excessively correlated asset risk, and, because debt is paid off by regulators when banks fail en masse, market discipline is compromised. While a simple minimum (tier-1) capital requirement suffices to restore efficiency under some conditions, there are also conditions under which an optimal arrangement to contain the build-up of systemic risk takes the form of the regular (tier-1) capital requirement plus a “special capital account” that involves 1) building up capital via dividend payout restrictions, 2) investment of the retained earnings in designated assets, and 3) contingent distribution provisions.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 469.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Thakor, Anjan & Mehran, Hamid & Acharya, Viral V., 2010. "Caught Between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating Bank Leverage When There is Rent Seeking and Risk Shifting," Working paper 643, Regulation2point0.
- Viral V. Acharya & Hamid Mehran & Anjan V. Thakor, 2010. "Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting," Working Paper 1024, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- Acharya, Viral V & Mehran, Hamid & Thakor, Anjan, 2012. "Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent-seeking and risk-shifting," CEPR Discussion Papers 8822, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
- G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
- G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
- G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
- G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-09-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-BAN-2010-09-25 (Banking)
- NEP-BEC-2010-09-25 (Business Economics)
- NEP-CTA-2010-09-25 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-REG-2010-09-25 (Regulation)
- NEP-RMG-2010-09-25 (Risk Management)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Viral V. Acharya & S. Viswanathan, 2010.
"Leverage, Moral Hazard and Liquidity,"
NBER Working Papers
15837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alex Edmans & Qi Liu, 2011. "Inside Debt," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 15(1), pages 75-102.
- Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
- Acharya, Viral V. & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2007.
"Too many to fail--An analysis of time-inconsistency in bank closure policies,"
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-31, January.
- Viral Acharya & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2007. "Too many to fail - an analysis of time-inconsistency in bank closure policies," Bank of England working papers 319, Bank of England.
- Acharya, Viral V & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2004. "Too Many to Fail - An Analysis of Time Inconsistency in Bank Closure Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 4778, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Acharya, Viral V & Pedersen, Lasse H & Philippon, Thomas & Richardson, Matthew P, 2012.
"Measuring Systemic Risk,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
8824, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
- Joseph G. Haubrich & Andrew W. Lo, 2013. "Quantifying Systemic Risk," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number haub10-1.
- Hamid Mehran, 0.
"Bank Capital and Value in the Cross-Section,"
Review of Financial Studies,
Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 1019-1067.
- Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, 08.
- George Pennacchi, 2010. "A structural model of contingent bank capital," Working Paper 1004, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Farber).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.