Bank capital and the macroeconomy: Policy considerations
We develop a macroeconomic model in which the balance sheet condition of financial institutions plays an important role in the determination of asset prices and economic activity. The financial intermediaries in our model are required to make investment commitments before a complete resolution of idiosyncratic funding risk that can be addressed only by costly refinancing, forcing them to behave in a risk-averse manner. The model shows that the balance sheet condition of intermediaries can drive asset values away from their fundamentals, causing aggregate investment and output to respond to shocks to intermediaries. We use this model to evaluate several public policies designed to address balance sheet problems at financial institutions. With regard to short-run policies, we find that capital injections conditioned upon voluntary recapitalization can be a more effective tool than asset purchases. With regard to long-run policies, we demonstrate that higher capital requirements can have sizable short-run effects on economic activity, and that a long transition period helps avoid undesirable side effects. Finally, we show that the marginal effects of policies can be larger during “crises” because of the nonlinear interactions between some financial frictions and policy actions.
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