Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Fallacies, Irrelevant Facts, and Myths in the Discussion of Capital Regulation: Why Bank Equity is Not Socially Expensive

Contents:

Author Info

  • Anat R. Admati

    ()
    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

  • Peter M. DeMarzo

    ()
    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

  • Martin F. Hellwig

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

  • Paul Pfleiderer

    ()
    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

Abstract

We examine the pervasive view that “equity is expensive,” which leads to claims that high capital requirements are costly for society and would affect credit markets adversely. We find that arguments made to support this view are fallacious, irrelevant to the policy debate by confusing private and social costs, or very weak. For example, the return on equity contains a risk premium that must go down if banks have more equity. It is thus incorrect to assume that the required return on equity remains fixed as capital requirements increase. It is also incorrect to translate higher taxes paid by banks to a social cost. Policies that subsidize debt and indirectly penalize equity through taxes and implicit guarantees are distortive. And while debt’s informational insensitivity may provide valuable liquidity, increased capital (and reduced leverage) can enhance this benefit. Finally, suggestions that high leverage serves a necessary disciplining role are based on inadequate theory lacking empirical support. We conclude that bank equity is not socially expensive, and that high leverage at the levels allowed, for example, by the Basel III agreement is not necessary for banks to perform all their socially valuable functions and likely makes banking inefficient. Better capitalized banks suffer fewer distortions in lending decisions and would perform better. The fact that banks choose high leverage does not imply that this is socially optimal. Except for government subsidies and viewed from an ex ante perspective, high leverage may not even be privately optimal for banks. Setting equity requirements significantly higher than the levels currently proposed would entail large social benefits and minimal, if any, social costs. Approaches based on equity dominate alternatives, including contingent capital. To achieve better capitalization quickly and efficiently and prevent disruption to lending, regulators must actively control equity payouts and issuance. If remaining challenges are addressed, capital regulation can be a powerful tool for enhancing the role of banks in the economy.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.coll.mpg.de/pdf_dat/2013_23online.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2013_23.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2013_23

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10 - D- 53113 Bonn
Phone: +49-(0)228 / 91416-0
Fax: +49-(0)228 / 91416-55
Email:
Web page: http://www.coll.mpg.de/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: capital regulation; financial institutions; capital structure; “too big to fail; ” systemic risk; bank equity; contingent capital; Basel; market discipline;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  2. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 2012. "Macroeconomic Shocks and Banking Regulation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 237-254, December.
  3. Dimitrios Tsomocos & Charles Goodhart & M.U. Peiris & Alexandros Vardoulakis, 2010. "On Dividend Restrictions and the Collapse of the Interbank Market," FMG Discussion Papers dp648, Financial Markets Group.
  4. Calomiris, Charles W., 1999. "Building an incentive-compatible safety net," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(10), pages 1499-1519, October.
  5. Acharya, Viral V & Gujral, Irvind & Kulkarni, Nirupama & Shin, Hyun Song, 2012. "Dividends and Bank Capital in the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009," CEPR Discussion Papers 8801, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Viral V. Acharya & Philipp Schnabl & Gustavo Suarez, 2010. "Securitization without risk transfer," NBER Working Papers 15730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kenneth French & Martin Baily & John Campbell & John Cochrane & Douglas Diamond & Darrell Duffie & Anil Kashyap & Frederic Mishkin & Raghuram Rajan & David Scharfstein & Robert Shiller & Hyun Song Shi, 2010. "The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(3), pages 8-21.
  8. Martin Hellwig, 2008. "Systemic Risk in the Financial Sector: An Analysis of the Subprime-Mortgage Financial Crisis," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_43, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  9. Ang, Andrew & Gorovyy, Sergiy & van Inwegen, Gregory B., 2011. "Hedge fund leverage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 102-126, October.
  10. Patrick Bolton & Hamid Mehran & Joel Shapiro, 2010. "Executive compensation and risk taking," Staff Reports 456, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Priyank Gandhi & Hanno Lustig, 2010. "Size Anomalies in U.S. Bank Stock Returns: A Fiscal Explanation," NBER Working Papers 16553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Richard Brealey, 2006. "Basel II: The Route Ahead or Cul-de-Sac?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 18(4), pages 34-43.
  13. Itay Goldstein & Ady Pauzner, 2005. "Demand-Deposit Contracts and the Probability of Bank Runs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1293-1327, 06.
  14. Gorton, Gary B., 2010. "Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199734153, October.
  15. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1993. "Market Liquidity and Performance Monitoring," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 678-709, August.
  16. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  17. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
  18. Claudia M. Buch & Esteban Prieto, 2012. "Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-Run Panel Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3836, CESifo Group Munich.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Musgrave, Ralph S., 2014. "The Solution is Full Reserve / 100% Reserve Banking," MPRA Paper 57955, University Library of Munich, Germany.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2013_23. See general 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: (Marc Martin).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.