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Does Inflation and High Taxes Increase Bank Leverage?

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    Does the combination of inflation and high corporate taxes explain the increase in bank leverage in the 20th century? Inflation automatically increases bank debt, while high corporate taxes hinder capital accumulation. Capital ratios therefore drop, until leverage-induced returns are sufficient to uphold them at constant levels. This theory was confronted with Swedish bank data 1870–2001. Bank capital ratios dropped when inflation and corporate tax rates were high, during WWI and in 1940–1980. The theory can explain the sinking bank capital ratios during these periods, but also their relative stability since the early 1980s. High corporate taxes and inflation were estimated to account for half of the drop in Swedish bank capital ratios since WWII.

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    Paper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 69.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: 28 Apr 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0069
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    1. Franklin Allen & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Payout Policy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-21, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
      • Allen, Franklin & Michaely, Roni, 2003. "Payout policy," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 337-429 Elsevier.
    2. Englund, Peter, 1999. "The Swedish Banking Crisis: Roots and Consequences," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 80-97, Autumn.
    3. Merton, Robert C., 1995. "Financial innovation and the management and regulation of financial institutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 461-481, June.
    4. Sironi, Andrea, 2003. " Testing for Market Discipline in the European Banking Industry: Evidence from Subordinated Debt Issues," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 443-72, June.
    5. Romer, Christina D, 1986. "Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 314-34, June.
    6. Berger, Allen N. & Herring, Richard J. & Szego, Giorgio P., 1995. "The role of capital in financial institutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 393-430, June.
    7. Bohlin, Jan, 2003. "Swedish historical national accounts: The fifth generation," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 73-97, April.
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