Caught Between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating Bank Leverage When There is Rent Seeking and Risk Shifting
AbstractBanks face two moral hazard problems: asset substitution by shareholders (e.g., making risky, negative net present value loans) and managerial rent seeking (e.g., investing in inefficient “pet” projects or simply being lazy and uninnovative). The privately-optimal level of bank leverage is neither too low nor too high: It balances efficiently the market discipline imposed by owners of risky debt on managerial rent-seeking against the asset-substitution induced at high levels of leverage. However, when correlated bank failures can impose significant social costs, regulators may bail out bank creditors. Anticipation of this generates an equilibrium featuring systemic risk in which all banks choose inefficiently high leverage to fund correlated assets. A minimum equity capital requirement can rule out asset substitution but also compromises market discipline by making bank debt too safe. The optimal capital regulation requires that a part of bank capital be unavailable to creditors upon failure, and be available to shareholders only contingent on good performance.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 643.
Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Other versions of this item:
- 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.
- Viral V. Acharya & Hamid Mehran & Anjan Thakor, 2010. "Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting," Staff Reports 469, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- 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-2011-03-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-BAN-2011-03-19 (Banking)
- NEP-BEC-2011-03-19 (Business Economics)
- NEP-CTA-2011-03-19 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-REG-2011-03-19 (Regulation)
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