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Bank Risk-Taking and Competition Revisited

  • Gianni De Nicoló
  • John H. Boyd
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    This study reinvestigates the theoretical relationship between competition in banking and banks'' exposure to risk of failure. There is a large existing literature that concludes that when banks are confronted with increased competition, they rationally choose more risky portfolios. We briefly review this literature and argue that it has had a significant influence on regulators and central bankers, causing them to take a less favorable view of competition and encouraging anti-competitive consolidation as a response to banking instability. We then show that existing theoretical analyses of this topic are fragile, since they do not detect two fundamental risk-incentive mechanisms that operate in exactly the opposite direction, causing banks to aquire more risk per portfolios as their markets become more concentrated. We argue that these mechanisms should be essential ingredients of models of bank competition.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 03/114.

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    Length: 24
    Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/114
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    1. Boyd, John H. & Chang, Chun & Smith, Bruce D., 2002. "Deposit insurance: a reconsideration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1235-1260, September.
    2. Gianni De Nicolo, 2000. "Size, charter value and risk in banking: an international perspective," International Finance Discussion Papers 689, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Philipp Hartmann & Elena Carletti, 2002. "Competition and Stability: What's Special about Banking?," FMG Special Papers sp140, Financial Markets Group.
    4. Gary Gorton & Andrew Winton, 2002. "Financial Intermediation," NBER Working Papers 8928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Chang, Chun, 1999. "Capital structure as optimal contracts," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 363-385.
    6. Repullo, Rafael, 2004. "Capital requirements, market power, and risk-taking in banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 156-182, April.
    7. Edward J. Kane, 2000. "Incentives for banking megamergers: what motives might regulators infer from event-study evidence?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 671-705.
    8. White, Michelle J, 1983. " Bankruptcy Costs and the New Bankruptcy Code," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(2), pages 477-88, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Kareken, John H & Wallace, Neil, 1978. "Deposit Insurance and Bank Regulation: A Partial-Equilibrium Exposition," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 413-38, July.
    11. Daniel Covitz & Erik Heitfield, 1999. "Monitoring, moral hazard, and market power: a model of bank lending," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
    13. Marshall, David A. & Prescott, Edward Simpson, 2001. "Bank capital regulation with and without state-contingent penalties," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 139-184, June.
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