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Economic and Regulatory Capital in Banking: What Is the Difference?


  • Abel Elizalde

    (CEMFI and UPNA)

  • Rafael Repullo

    (CEMFI and CEPR)


We analyze the determinants of regulatory capital (the minimum required by regulation), economic capital (that chosen by shareholders without regulation), and actual capital (that chosen with regulation) in a dynamic model of a bank with a loan-portfolio return described by the single-risk-factor model of Basel II. We show that variables that only affect economic capital, such as the intermediation margin and the cost of capital, can account for large deviations from regulatory capital. Actual capital is closer to regulatory capital, but the threat of closing undercapitalized banks generates significant capital buffers. Market discipline, proxied by the coverage of deposit insurance, increases economic and actual capital, although the effects are small.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel Elizalde & Rafael Repullo, 2007. "Economic and Regulatory Capital in Banking: What Is the Difference?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(3), pages 87-117, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2007:q:3:a:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Repullo, Rafael, 2004. "Capital requirements, market power, and risk-taking in banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 156-182, April.
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    3. Jackson, Patricia & Perraudin, William & Saporta, Victoria, 2002. "Regulatory and "economic" solvency standards for internationally active banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 953-976, May.
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    5. Estrella, Arturo, 2004. "The cyclical behavior of optimal bank capital," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1469-1498, June.
    6. Repullo, Rafael & Suarez, Javier, 2004. "Loan pricing under Basel capital requirements," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 496-521, October.
    7. Gordy, Michael B., 2003. "A risk-factor model foundation for ratings-based bank capital rules," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 199-232, July.
    8. Aggarwal, Raj & Jacques, Kevin T., 2001. "The impact of FDICIA and prompt corrective action on bank capital and risk: Estimates using a simultaneous equations model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1139-1160, June.
    9. Mark J. Flannery & Kasturi P. Rangan, 2008. "What Caused the Bank Capital Build-up of the 1990s?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 12(2), pages 391-429.
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    Cited by:

    1. Repullo, Rafael & Suarez, Javier, 2008. "The Procyclical Effects of Basel II," CEPR Discussion Papers 6862, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Ignazio Angeloni, 2009. "A Tale of Two Policies: Prudential Regulation and Monetary Policy with Fragile Banks," Working Papers 345, Bruegel.
    3. David Martinez-Miera & Rafael Repullo, 2010. "Does Competition Reduce the Risk of Bank Failure?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(10), pages 3638-3664, October.
    4. John Harding & Xiaozhong Liang & Stephen Ross, 2013. "Bank Capital Requirements, Capital Structure and Regulation," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 43(2), pages 127-148, April.
    5. Chernykh, Lucy & Cole, Rebel A., 2015. "How should we measure bank capital adequacy for triggering Prompt Corrective Action? A (simple) proposal," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 131-143.
    6. Haibin Zhu, 2008. "Capital Regulation and Banks' Financial Decisions," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(1), pages 165-211, March.
    7. Gianni De Nicolò & Andrea Gamba & Marcella Lucchetta, 2014. "Microprudential Regulation in a Dynamic Model of Banking," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(7), pages 2097-2138.
    8. Ashraf, Dawood & Rizwan, Muhammad Suhail & L’Huillier, Barbara, 2016. "A net stable funding ratio for Islamic banks and its impact on financial stability: An international investigation," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 47-57.
    9. Daher, Hassan & Masih, Mansur & Ibrahim, Mansor, 2015. "The unique risk exposures of Islamic banks’ capital buffers: A dynamic panel data analysis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 36-52.
    10. Alejandro Ferrer Pérez & José Casals Carro & Sonia Sotoca López, 2014. "Conditional coverage and its role in determining and assessing long-term capital requirements," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 2014-12, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
    11. Matej Marinč & Mojmir Mrak & Vasja Rant, 2014. "Dimensions of Bank Capital Regulation: A Cross-Country Analysis," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(4), pages 415-439, September.
    12. Massimo Libertucci & Francesco Piersante, 2012. "Start-up banks� default and the role of capital," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 890, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    13. Barroso, Ricardo Vieira & Lima, Joaquim Ignacio Alves Vasconcellos & Lucchetti, Alexandre Henrique & Cajueiro, Daniel Oliveira, 2016. "Interbank network and regulation policies: an analysis through agent-based simulations with adaptive learning," MPRA Paper 73308, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Xavier Freixas & Bruno Maria Parigi, 2007. "Banking Regulation and Prompt Corrective Action," CESifo Working Paper Series 2136, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Lorenzo Sasso, 2016. "Bank Capital Structure and Financial Innovation: Antagonists or Two Sides of the Same Coin?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 66/LAW/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    16. Angeloni, Ignazio & Faia, Ester, 2013. "Capital regulation and monetary policy with fragile banks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 311-324.
    17. Jorge, José, 2009. "Why do bank loans react with a delay to shifts in interest rates? A bank capital explanation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 799-806, September.
    18. Daher, Hassan & Masih, A.Mansur M. & Ibrahim, Mansor H., 2014. "Islamic Banks’ Capital Buffers: Unique Risk Exposures and the Disciplining Effects of Charter Values," MPRA Paper 56947, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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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