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Risktaking, Limited Liability, and the Competition of Bank Regulators

  • Sinn, Hans-Werner

Limited liability and asymmetric information between an investment bank and its lenders provide an incentive for a bank to undercapitalize and finance overly risky business projects. To counter this market failure, national governments have imposed solvency constraints on banks. However, these constraints may not survive in systems competition, as systems competition is likely to suffer from the same type of information asymmetry that induced the private market failure and that brought in the government in the first place (Selection Principle). As national solvency regulation creates a positive international policy externality on foreign lenders of domestic banks, there will be an undersupply of such regulation. This may explain why Asian banks were undercapitalized and took excessive risks before the banking crisis emerged.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19615.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in FinanzArchiv 3 59(2003): pp. 305-329
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19615
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  1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti & Nouriel Roubini, 1998. "What Caused the Asian Currency and Financial Crisis? Part II: The Policy Debate," NBER Working Papers 6834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1982. "Kinked utility and the demand for human wealth and liability insurance," Munich Reprints in Economics 19909, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Robert Dekle & Kenneth M. Kletzer, 2001. "Domestic Bank Regulation and Financial Crises: Theory and Empirical Evidence from East Asia," NBER Working Papers 8322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The selection principle and market failure in systems competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 247-274, November.
  5. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1986. "Risiko als Produktionsfaktor," Munich Reprints in Economics 19879, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  7. Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1992. "Capital requirements and the behaviour of commercial banks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1137-1170, June.
  8. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
  9. Christian Gollier & Pierre-François Koehl & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1996. "Risk-Taking Behavior with Limited Liability and Risk Aversion," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-13, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  10. Blum, Jurg & Hellwig, Martin, 1995. "The macroeconomic implications of capital adequacy requirements for banks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 739-749, April.
  11. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  12. Rudi Dornbusch, 2002. "The New International Architecture," CESifo Working Paper Series 769, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Kane, Edward J., 2000. "Capital movements, banking insolvency, and silent runs in the Asian financial crisis," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 153-175, May.
  14. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1980. "Ökonomische Entscheidungen bei Ungewißheit," Monograph, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, number urn:isbn:9783169427024, December.
  15. Hyman P. Minsky, 1992. "The Financial Instability Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_74, Levy Economics Institute.
  16. Modigliani, Franco, 1982. " Debt, Dividend Policy, Taxes, Inflation and Market Valuation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(2), pages 255-73, May.
  17. Bester,Helmut Hellwig,Martin, 1987. "Moral hazard and equilibrium credit rationing: An overview of the issues," Discussion Paper Serie A 125, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. Charles W. Calomiris & Andrew Powell, 2000. "Can Emerging Market Bank Regulators Establish Credible Discipline? The Case of Argentina, 1992-1999," NBER Working Papers 7715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dow, Sheila C, 1996. "Why the Banking System Should Be Regulated," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 698-707, May.
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