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The welfare cost of bank capital requirements

  • Van den Heuvel, Skander J.

Capital requirements are the cornerstone of modern bank regulation, yet little is known about their welfare cost. This paper measures this cost and finds that it is surprisingly large. I present a simple framework, which embeds the role of liquidity creating banks in an otherwise standard general equilibrium growth model. A capital requirement limits the moral hazard on the part of banks that arises due to deposit insurance. However, this capital requirement is also costly because it reduces the ability of banks to create liquidity. The key insight is that equilibrium asset returns reveal the strength of households' preferences for liquidity and this allows for the derivation of a simple formula for the welfare cost of capital requirements that is a function of observable variables only. Using US data, the welfare cost of current capital adequacy regulation is found to be equivalent to a permanent loss in consumption of between 0.1% and 1%.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 55 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 298-320

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:55:y:2008:i:2:p:298-320
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1999. "A Theory of Bank Capital," NBER Working Papers 7431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
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  9. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
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  12. Jones, David, 2000. "Emerging problems with the Basel Capital Accord: Regulatory capital arbitrage and related issues," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 35-58, January.
  13. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 1994. "The prudential regulation of banks," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9539, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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