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Optimal Capital Requirements over the Business and Financial Cycles

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  • Frederic Malherbe

Abstract

I study economies where banks do not fully internalize the social costs of their lending decisions, which leads to real overinvestment. The bank capital requirement that restores investment efficiency varies over time. During booms, more investment is desirable, so the banking sector must be allowed to expand. This suggests a loosening of the requirement. However, there is also more bank capital. Since the banking sector exhibits decreasing returns to scale, this suggests a tightening instead. I find that the latter effect, which I dub the "bank capital channel," dominates: the optimal capital requirement is tighter during booms than in recessions.

Suggested Citation

  • Frederic Malherbe, 2020. "Optimal Capital Requirements over the Business and Financial Cycles," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 139-174, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:12:y:2020:i:3:p:139-74
    DOI: 10.1257/mac.20160140
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • 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

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