Bank Capital and Uncertainty
AbstractAn important role for bank capital is that of a buffer against unexpected losses. As uncertainty about these losses increases, the theory predicts an increase in the optimal level of bank capital. This paper investigates this implication empirically with U.S. Commercial Banks data and finds statistically significant and robust evidence supporting it. A counterfactual experiment suggests that a decline in uncertainty to the lowest level measured in the sample generates an average reduction in bank capital ratios of slightly over 1 percentage point. However, I also find suggestive evidence that the intensity of this precautionary motive is stronger during recessions. From a policy perspective, these results suggest that the effectiveness of countercyclical capital requirements during bad times will be undermined by banks desire to hold more capital in response to increased uncertainty.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/208.
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2010
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This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-BAN-2010-10-16 (Banking)
- NEP-BEC-2010-10-16 (Business Economics)
- NEP-RMG-2010-10-16 (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.:
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- von Furstenberg, George M., 2011. "Contingent capital to strengthen the private safety net for financial institutions: Cocos to the rescue?," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2011,01, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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