The Incidence of Reserve Requirements in Brazil: Do Bank Stockholders Share the Burden?
There is consensus in the economic literature that the reserve requirements are a tax levied upon financial intermediation, yet the incidence of the tax remains controversial. In this paper, we test whether changes in reserve requirements in Brazil impact the stock returns of the financial system distinctly from the rest of the economy. We find evidence that Brazilian bank stock returns were affected by changes in reserve requirements on both time deposits and transaction accounts, which implies that the tax burden of required reserves was not fully passed through to banks' borrowers or clients. Stock returns of non-financial firms were also affected by these changes, suggesting that in some cases, reserve requirements on time deposits and transaction accounts served as a non-neutral instrument of monetary or fiscal policy in Brazil.
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