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Testing macroprudential stress tests: The risk of regulatory risk weights

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  • Acharya, Viral
  • Engle, Robert
  • Pierret, Diane

Abstract

We compare the capital shortfall measured by regulatory stress tests, to that of a benchmark methodology — the “V-Lab stress test” — that employs only publicly available market data. We find that when capital shortfalls are measured relative to risk-weighted assets, the ranking of financial institutions is not well correlated to the ranking of the V-Lab stress test, whereas rank correlations increase when required capitalization is a function of total assets. We show that the risk measures used in risk-weighted assets are cross-sectionally uncorrelated with market measures of risk, as they do not account for the “risk that risk will change.” Furthermore, the banks that appeared to be best capitalized relative to risk-weighted assets were no better than the rest when the European economy deteriorated into the sovereign debt crisis in 2011.

Suggested Citation

  • Acharya, Viral & Engle, Robert & Pierret, Diane, 2014. "Testing macroprudential stress tests: The risk of regulatory risk weights," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 36-53.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:65:y:2014:i:c:p:36-53
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2014.04.014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Macroprudential regulation; Stress test; Systemic risk; Risk-weighted assets;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • 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

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