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Agency problems and risk taking at banks

Author

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  • Rebecca S. Demsetz
  • Marc R. Saidenberg
  • Philip E. Strahan

Abstract

The moral hazard problem associated with deposit insurance generates the potential for excessive risk taking on the part of bank owners. The banking literature identifies franchise value--a firm's profit-generating potential--as one force mitigating that risk taking. We argue that in the presence of owner/manager agency problems, managerial risk aversion may also offset the excessive risk taking that stems from moral hazard. Empirical models of bank risk tend to focus either on the disciplinary role of franchise value or on owner/manager agency problems. We estimate a unified model and find that both franchise value and ownership structure affect risk at banks. More important, we identify an interesting interaction effect: The relationship between ownership structure and risk is significant only at low-franchise value banks--those where moral hazard problems are most severe and where conflicts between owner and manager risk preferences are therefore strongest. For these banks, insider holdings affect risk taking through asset risk, while ownership concentration affects risk taking through leverage. This is consistent with the idea that outside blockholders more readily control managerial risk-taking by influencing leverage than by influencing asset risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca S. Demsetz & Marc R. Saidenberg & Philip E. Strahan, 1997. "Agency problems and risk taking at banks," Research Paper 9709, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednrp:9709
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. D.T. Llewellyn, 2000. "Some Lessons for Bank Regulation from Recent Crises," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 51, Netherlands Central Bank.
    2. Chen, Minghua & Wu, Ji & Jeon, Bang Nam & Wang, Rui, 2017. "Do foreign banks take more risk? Evidence from emerging economies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 20-39.
    3. Robert DeYoung & Kenneth Spong & Richard J. Sullivan, 1999. "Who's minding the store? motivating and monitoring hired managers at small, closely held firms: the case of commercial banks," Working Paper Series WP-99-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. David T. Llewellyn, 2002. "An analysis of the causes of recent banking crises," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 152-175, June.
    5. Jess Benhabib & Jianjun Miao & Pengfei Wang, 2016. "Chaotic banking crises and regulations," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(2), pages 393-422, February.
    6. Garci­a-Marco, Teresa & Robles-Fernández, M. Dolores, 2008. "Risk-taking behaviour and ownership in the banking industry: The Spanish evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 332-354.
    7. Martin BROWNBRIDGE, 1998. "The Causes Of Financial Distress In Local Banks In Africa And Implications For Prudential Policy," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 132, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    8. Christine Marsal, 2006. "La cohérence dans la mobilisation du capital humain:une illustration de la théorie de l’architecture organisationnelle dans les banques de réseau," Working Papers CREGO 1060501, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    9. Rómulo Chumacero E. & Patricia S. Langoni, 2001. "Risk, Size and Concentration in the Chilean Banking System," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 4(1), pages 25-34, April.
    10. Iannotta, Giuliano & Nocera, Giacomo & Sironi, Andrea, 2007. "Ownership structure, risk and performance in the European banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2127-2149, July.
    11. Bhagat, Sanjai & Bolton, Brian & Lu, Jun, 2015. "Size, leverage, and risk-taking of financial institutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 520-537.
    12. Sullivan, Richard J. & Spong, Kenneth R., 2007. "Manager wealth concentration, ownership structure, and risk in commercial banks," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 229-248, April.
    13. Petros Arvanitis & Konstantinos Drakos, 2015. "The Net Stable Funding Ratio of US Bank Holding Companies: A Retrospective Analysis," International Journal of Economic Sciences, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 1-9, June.
    14. Anderson, Ronald C. & Fraser, Donald R., 2000. "Corporate control, bank risk taking, and the health of the banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1383-1398, August.
    15. Boubakri, Narjess & Cosset, Jean-Claude & Fischer, Klaus & Guedhami, Omrane, 2005. "Privatization and bank performance in developing countries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8-9), pages 2015-2041, August.
    16. repec:eee:quaeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:120-129 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Leung, W.S. & Taylor, N. & Evans, K.P., 2015. "The determinants of bank risks: Evidence from the recent financial crisis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 277-293.
    18. Augusto Hasman, 2013. "A Critical Review Of Contagion Risk In Banking," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 978-995, December.
    19. repec:eee:intfin:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:196-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Gulamhussen, M.A. & Pinheiro, Carlos & Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2014. "International diversification and risk of multinational banks: Evidence from the pre-crisis period," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 30-43.
    21. Richard J. Sullivan & Kenneth R. Spong, 1998. "How does ownership structure and manager wealth influence risk? : a look at ownership structure, manager wealth, and risk in commercial banks," Financial Industry Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Dec, pages 15-40.
    22. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Uhde, André, 2010. "Zur Neuregulierung des Bankensektors nach der Finanzkrise: Bewertung der Reformvorhaben der EU aus ordnungspolitischer Sicht," DICE Ordnungspolitische Perspektiven 02, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    23. Glaeser, Edward L. & Nathanson, Charles G., 2015. "Housing Bubbles," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    24. Woon Sau Leung & Nicholas Taylor, 2013. "Testing for contagion: the impact of US structured markets on international financial markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Empirical Finance, chapter 11, pages 256-284 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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    Keywords

    Risk ; Deposit insurance ; Bank management;

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