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Monetary Policy, Leverage, and Bank Risk Taking

  • Giovanni Dell'Ariccia
  • Robert Marquez
  • Luc Laeven

We provide a theoretical foundation for the claim that prolonged periods of easy monetary conditions increase bank risk taking. The net effect of a monetary policy change on bank monitoring (an inverse measure of risk taking) depends on the balance of three forces: interest rate pass-through, risk shifting, and leverage. When banks can adjust their capital structures, a monetary easing leads to greater leverage and lower monitoring. However, if a bank's capital structure is fixed, the balance depends on the degree of bank capitalization: when facing a policy rate cut, well capitalized banks decrease monitoring, while highly levered banks increase it. Further, the balance of these effects depends on the structure and contestability of the banking industry, and is therefore likely to vary across countries and over time.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/276.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/276
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  1. Vasso Ioannidou & Steven Ongena & José-Luis Peydró, 2015. "Monetary Policy, Risk-Taking, and Pricing: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 19(1), pages 95-144.
  2. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, . "Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking," CRSP working papers 476, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
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  8. Jiminez, G. & Ongena, S. & Saurina, J., 2007. "Hazardous Times for Monetary Policy : What do Twenty-three Million Bank Loans Say about the Effects of Monetary Policy on Credit Risk?," Discussion Paper 2007-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Maddaloni, Angela & Peydró, José-Luis, 2010. "Bank risk-taking, securitization, supervision and low interest rates: Evidence from the euro area and the U.S. lending standards," Working Paper Series 1248, European Central Bank.
  10. Bernhard Eckwert & Burkhard Drees & Felix Vardy, 2011. "Cheap Money and Risk Taking: Opacity versus Underlying Risk," EcoMod2011 2782, EcoMod.
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  12. Altunbas, Yener & Gambacorta, Leonardo & Marqués-Ibáñez, David, 2010. "Does monetary policy affect bank risk-taking?," Working Paper Series 1166, European Central Bank.
  13. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
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  15. Matutes, Carmen & Vives, Xavier, 1995. "Imperfect Competition, Risk Taking, and Regulation in Banking," CEPR Discussion Papers 1177, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Marquez, Robert, 2006. "Competition among regulators and credit market integration," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 401-430, February.
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