The evolution of "too-big-to-fail" policy in Japan: evidence from market equity values
This paper examines the evidence in bank equity markets concerning bank regulatory policies in Japan over the turbulent 1995-1998 period. We find that investors grouped banks according to regulatory status in assessing whether a bank was currently treated as "too-big-to-fail." when a failure of a bank of certain regulatory status was announced, excess returns on other banks of that regulatory status and below displayed heightened sensitivity to adverse news. This suggests that investors updated their beliefs about which classes of banks were protected by too-big-to-fail policies over the course of the sample. The pattern that emerges suggests that government officials pursued a policy of "regulatory triage," where initially Credit Cooperatives, then Second Regional banks, then First Regional banks, and finally City banks were allowed to fail.
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