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The Real Effects of Bank Capital Requirements

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  • M. Brun
  • H. Fraisse
  • D. Thesmar

Abstract

We measure the impact of bank capital requirements on corporate borrowing and business activity. We use loan-level data and take advantage of the transition from Basel 1 to Basel 2. While under Basel 1 the capital charge was the same for all firms, under Basel 2, it depends in a predictable way on both the bank's model and the firm's risk. We exploit this two-way variation to empirically estimate the semi-elasticity of bank lending to capital requirement. This rich identification allows us to control for firm-level credit demand shocks and bank-level credit supply shocks. We find very large effects of capital requirements on bank lending: a one percentage point increase in capital requirements leads to a reduction in lending by approximately 10%. At the firm level, borrowing is reduced, as well as total assets (mostly working capital); we provide some evidence of the impact on employment and investment. Overall, however, because Basel 2 reduced the capital requirements for the average firm, our results suggest that the transition to Basel 2 supported firm activity during the crisis period.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Brun & H. Fraisse & D. Thesmar, 2013. "The Real Effects of Bank Capital Requirements," Débats économiques et financiers 8, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:decfin:8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peek, Joe & Rosengren, Eric, 1995. "Bank regulation and the credit crunch," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 679-692, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank capital ratios; Bank regulation; Credit supply.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • 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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