IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does the market discipline banks? New evidence from the regulatory capital mix


  • Adam B. Ashcraft


Although bank capital regulation permits a bank to choose freely between equity and subordinated debt to meet capital requirements, lenders and investors view debt and equity as imperfect substitutes. It follows that the mix of debt in regulatory capital should isolate the role that the market plays in disciplining banks. I document that since the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) reduced the ability of the FDIC to absorb losses of subordinated debt investors, the mix of debt has had a positive effect on the future outcomes of distressed banks, as if the presence of debt investors has worked to limit moral hazard. To mitigate concerns about selection, I use the variation across banks in the mix of debt in capital generated by cross-state variation in state corporate income tax rates. Interestingly, instrumental variables (IV) estimates document that selection problems are indeed important, but suggest that the benefits of subordinated debt are even larger. I conclude that the market may play a useful direct role in regulating banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam B. Ashcraft, 2006. "Does the market discipline banks? New evidence from the regulatory capital mix," Staff Reports 244, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:244

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diana Hancock & Myron Kwast, 2001. "Using Subordinated Debt to Monitor Bank Holding Companies: Is it Feasible?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-187, October.
    2. Flannery, Mark J & Sorescu, Sorin M, 1996. " Evidence of Bank Market Discipline in Subordinated Debenture Yields: 1983-1991," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1347-1377, September.
    3. Douglas D. Evanoff & Larry D. Wall, 2000. "Subordinated debt and bank capital reform," Working Paper Series WP-00-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Adam B. Ashcraft, 2008. "Are Bank Holding Companies a Source of Strength to Their Banking Subsidiaries?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 273-294, March.
    5. Flannery, Mark J, 1998. "Using Market Information in Prudential Bank Supervision: A Review of the U.S. Empirical Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 273-305, August.
    6. Julapa Jagtiani & George Kaufman & Catharine Lemieux, 1999. "Do markets discipline banks and bank holding companies? evidence from debt pricing," Emerging Issues, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jun.
    7. Robert DeYoung & Mark J. Flannery & William W. Lang & Sorin M. Sorescu, 1998. "The informational advantage of specialized monitors: the case of bank examiners," Working Paper Series WP-98-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    8. Billett, Matthew T. & Garfinkel, Jon A. & O'Neal, Edward S., 1998. "The cost of market versus regulatory discipline in banking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 333-358, June.
    9. Goyal, Vidhan K., 2005. "Market discipline of bank risk: Evidence from subordinated debt contracts," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 318-350, July.
    10. Avery, Robert B & Belton, Terrence M & Goldberg, Michael A, 1988. "Market Discipline in Regulating Bank Risk: New Evidence from the Capital Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(4), pages 597-610, November.
    11. Cook, Douglas O & Spellman, Lewis J, 1994. "Repudiation Risk and Restitution Costs: Toward Understanding Premiums on Insured Deposits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(3), pages 439-459, August.
    12. Park, Sangkyun & Peristiani, Stavros, 1998. "Market Discipline by Thrift Depositors," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 347-364, August.
    13. anonymous, 1999. "Using subordinated debt as an instrument of market discipline," Staff Studies 172, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    14. Donald P. Morgan & Kevin J. Stiroh, 1999. "Bond market discipline of banks: is the market tough enough?," Staff Reports 95, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Imai, Masami, 2007. "The emergence of market monitoring in Japanese banks: Evidence from the subordinated debt market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1441-1460, May.
    2. Acharya, Viral V & Mora, Nada, 2011. "Are Banks Passive Liquidity Backstops? Deposit Rates and Flows during the 2007-2009 Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 8706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Valeriya Dinger & Jürgen Von Hagen, 2009. "Does Interbank Borrowing Reduce Bank Risk?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2-3), pages 491-506, March.
    4. Niu, Jijun, 2008. "Can subordinated debt constrain banks' risk taking?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1110-1119, June.

    More about this item


    Bank capital ; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 ; Debt ; Bank supervision;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:244. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Farber). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.