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Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent-seeking and risk-shifting

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  • Acharya, Viral V
  • Mehran, Hamid
  • Thakor, Anjan

Abstract

We consider a model in which banks face two moral hazard problems: 1) asset substitution by shareholders, which can occur when banks make socially-inefficient, risky loans; and 2) managerial under-provision of effort in loan monitoring. The privately-optimal level of bank leverage is neither too low nor too high: It efficiently balances the market discipline that owners of risky debt impose on managerial shirking in monitoring loans against the asset substitution induced at high levels of leverage. However, when correlated bank failures can impose significant social costs, regulators may bail out bank creditors. Anticipation of this action generates an equilibrium featuring systemic risk, in which all banks choose inefficiently high leverage to fund correlated, excessively risky assets. That is, regulatory forbearance itself becomes a source of systemic risk. Leverage can be reduced via a minimum equity capital requirement, which can rule out asset substitution. But this also compromises market discipline by making bank debt too safe. Optimal capital regulation requires that a part of bank capital be invested in safe assets and be attached with contingent distribution rights, in particular, be unavailable to creditors upon failure so as to retain market discipline and be made available to shareholders only contingent on good performance in order to contain risk-taking.

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  • Acharya, Viral V & Mehran, Hamid & Thakor, Anjan, 2012. "Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent-seeking and risk-shifting," CEPR Discussion Papers 8822, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8822
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    Cited by:

    1. Mousa Almanaseer, 2014. "The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Islamic Banks Profitability - Evidence from GCC," International Journal of Financial Research, International Journal of Financial Research, Sciedu Press, vol. 5(3), pages 176-187, July.
    2. Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena & Marquez, Robert, 2015. "Deposits and bank capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 601-619.
    3. Challe, Edouard & Mojon, Benoit & Ragot, Xavier, 2013. "Equilibrium risk shifting and interest rate in an opaque financial system," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 117-133.
    4. Viral V. Acharya & Hanh T. Le & Hyun Song Shin, 2017. "Bank Capital and Dividend Externalities," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 30(3), pages 988-1018.
    5. Hamid Mehran & Alan Morrison & Joel Shapiro, 2011. "Corporate governance and banks: what have we learned from the financial crisis?," Staff Reports 502, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Viral V. Acharya & Irvind Gujral & Nirupama Kulkarni & Hyun Song Shin, 2011. "Dividends and Bank Capital in the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009," NBER Working Papers 16896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Itai Agur & Maria Demertzis, 2010. "Monetary Policy and Excessive Bank Risk Taking," DNB Working Papers 271, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    8. Agur, Itai, 2014. "Bank risk within and across equilibria," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 322-333.
    9. Viral V. Acharya & Hamid Mehran & Til Schuermann & Anjan V. Thakor, 2012. "Robust capital regulation," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 18(May).
    10. Emilios Avgouleas, 2015. "Bank Leverage Ratios and Financial Stability: A Micro- and Macroprudential Perspective," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_849, Levy Economics Institute.
    11. Admati, Anat R. & DeMarzo, Peter M. & Hellwig, Martin F. & Pfleiderer, Paul, 2010. "Fallacies, Irrelevant Facts, and Myths in the Discussion of Capital Regulation: Why Bank Equity Is Not Expensive," Research Papers 2065, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    12. Manganelli, Simone & Altunbas, Yener & Marqués-Ibáñez, David, 2011. "Bank risk during the financial crisis: do business models matter?," Working Paper Series 1394, European Central Bank.
    13. Agur, Itai & Demertzis, Maria, 2012. "Excessive bank risk taking and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 1457, European Central Bank.
    14. Sokolov, V., 2012. "The Impact of Central Bank Liquidity Infusions on Banks with High Level of Foreign Borrowing during the Crisis," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 51-78.
    15. Paolo Angelini & Stefano Neri & Fabio Panetta, 2011. "Monetary and macroprudential policies," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 801, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Yaron Leitner, 2012. "Contingent capital," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q2, pages 11-18.
    17. Edmans, Alex, 2011. "Short-term termination without deterring long-term investment: A theory of debt and buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 81-101, October.
    18. Panetti, Ettore, 2011. "Unobservable savings, risk sharing and default in the financial system," MPRA Paper 29542, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset substitution; bailout; market discipline; systemic risk;

    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
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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