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International Banking and the Allocation of Risk



Macroeconomic risks could magnify individual bank risk. Mitigating the influence of economy-wide risks on banks could therefore be very important to maintain a smooth-running banking system. In this paper, we explore the extent to which macroeconomic risks affect banks. We use a bank-level dataset on over 2,000 banks worldwide for the years 1995-2002 to study the effect of macroeconomic volatility, the openness of the banking system, and banking regulations on bank risks. Our measure of bank risk is the volatility of banks’ pretax profits. We find that macroeconomic volatility increases banks’ profit volatility and that international openness of the banking system lowers bank risk. We find no impact of banking regulation on profit volatility. Our findings suggest that if policymakers want to lower bank risk, they should seek to lower macroeconomic volatility as well as increase openness in the banking system.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia M. Buch & Gayle L. DeLong & Katja Neugebauer, 2007. "International Banking and the Allocation of Risk," IAW Discussion Papers 32, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reint Gropp & Jukka Vesala, 2004. "Deposit Insurance, Moral Hazard and Market Monitoring," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 8(4), pages 571-602.
    2. Diego A. Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2006. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 167-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pierre-Guillaume Meon & Laurent Weill, 2005. "Can mergers in Europe help banks hedge against macroeconomic risk?," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(5), pages 315-326.
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    5. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian, 2006. "Growth volatility and financial liberalization," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 370-403, April.
    6. Ari Hyytinen, 2002. "The time profile of risk in banking crises: evidence from Scandinavian banking sectors," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(9), pages 613-623.
    7. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    8. Axel Dreher, 2006. "Does globalization affect growth? Evidence from a new index of globalization," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(10), pages 1091-1110.
    9. Buch, Claudia M. & DeLong, Gayle, 2004. "Cross-border bank mergers: What lures the rare animal?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 2077-2102, September.
    10. Keeley, Michael C, 1990. "Deposit Insurance, Risk, and Market Power in Banking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1183-1200, December.
    11. Amihud, Yakov & DeLong, Gayle L. & Saunders, Anthony, 2002. "The effects of cross-border bank mergers on bank risk and value," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 857-877, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olga Bohachova, 2008. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Factors on Risks in the Banking Sector: A Cross-Country Empirical Assessment," IAW Discussion Papers 44, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    2. Claudia M. Buch & Gayle L. DeLong, 2008. "Banking Globalization: International Consolidation and Mergers in Banking," IAW Discussion Papers 38, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).

    More about this item


    international banking; macroeconomic volatility; banking risk;

    JEL classification:

    • F37 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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