IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Inconsistent Regulators: Evidence from Banking

Listed author(s):
  • Sumit Agarwal
  • David Lucca
  • Amit Seru
  • Francesco Trebbi

We find that regulators can implement identical rules inconsistently due to differences in their institutional design and incentives, and this behavior may adversely impact the effectiveness with which regulation is implemented. We study supervisory decisions of U.S. banking regulators and exploit a legally determined rotation policy that assigns federal and state supervisors to the same bank at exogenously set time intervals. Comparing federal and state regulator supervisory ratings within the same bank, we find that federal regulators are systematically tougher, downgrading supervisory ratings almost twice as frequently as do state supervisors. State regulators counteract these downgrades to some degree by upgrading more frequently. Under federal regulators, banks report worse asset quality, higher regulatory capital ratios, and lower return on assets. Leniency of state regulators relative to their federal counterparts is related to costly outcomes, such as higher failure rates and lower repayment rates of government assistance funds. The discrepancy in regulator behavior is related to different weights given by regulators to local economic conditions and, to some extent, differences in regulatory resources. We find no support for regulator self-interest, which includes “revolving doors” as a reason for leniency of state regulators.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qju003
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 129 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 889-938

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:889-938
Contact details of provider:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Berger, Allen N & Davies, Sally M & Flannery, Mark J, 2000. "Comparing Market and Supervisory Assessments of Bank Performance: Who Knows What When?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 641-667, August.
  2. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 1999. "Separation of Regulators Against Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 232-262, Summer.
  3. Jith Jayaratne & Philip E. Strahan, 1996. "The Finance-Growth Nexus: Evidence from Bank Branch Deregulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 639-670.
  4. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, 02.
  5. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, December.
  6. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Maristella Botticini, 2002. "Endogenous Matching and the Empirical Determinants of Contract Form," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 564-591, June.
  7. Randall S. Kroszner & Philip E. Strahan, 1999. "What Drives Deregulation? Economics and Politics of the Relaxation of Bank Branching Restrictions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1437-1467.
  8. Elizabeth Olmstead Teisberg, 1993. "Capital Investment Strategies under Uncertain Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 591-604, Winter.
  9. Ricardo J. Caballero & Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2008. "Zombie Lending and Depressed Restructuring in Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1943-1977, December.
  10. Gunther, Jeffery W. & Moore, Robert R., 2003. "Loss underreporting and the auditing role of bank exams," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 153-177, April.
  11. Richard J. Rosen, 2005. "Switching primary federal regulators: is it beneficial for U.S. banks?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 16-23.
  12. Michael J. Brennan & Eduardo S. Schwartz, 1982. "Consistent Regulatory Policy under Uncertainty," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 506-521, Autumn.
  13. Rosen, Richard J, 2003. " Is Three a Crowd? Competition among Regulators in Banking," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 967-998, December.
  14. Martimort, David, 1999. "Renegotiation Design with Multiple Regulators," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 261-293, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:889-938. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.