Fallacies, Irrelevant Facts, and Myths in the Discussion of Capital Regulation: Why Bank Equity is Not Socially Expensive
We examine the pervasive view that “equity is expensive,” which leads to claims that high capital requirements are costly for society and would affect credit markets adversely. We find that arguments made to support this view are fallacious, irrelevant to the policy debate by confusing private and social costs, or very weak. For example, the return on equity contains a risk premium that must go down if banks have more equity. It is thus incorrect to assume that the required return on equity remains fixed as capital requirements increase. It is also incorrect to translate higher taxes paid by banks to a social cost. Policies that subsidize debt and indirectly penalize equity through taxes and implicit guarantees are distortive. And while debt’s informational insensitivity may provide valuable liquidity, increased capital (and reduced leverage) can enhance this benefit. Finally, suggestions that high leverage serves a necessary disciplining role are based on inadequate theory lacking empirical support. We conclude that bank equity is not socially expensive, and that high leverage at the levels allowed, for example, by the Basel III agreement is not necessary for banks to perform all their socially valuable functions and likely makes banking inefficient. Better capitalized banks suffer fewer distortions in lending decisions and would perform better. The fact that banks choose high leverage does not imply that this is socially optimal. Except for government subsidies and viewed from an ex ante perspective, high leverage may not even be privately optimal for banks. Setting equity requirements significantly higher than the levels currently proposed would entail large social benefits and minimal, if any, social costs. Approaches based on equity dominate alternatives, including contingent capital. To achieve better capitalization quickly and efficiently and prevent disruption to lending, regulators must actively control equity payouts and issuance. If remaining challenges are addressed, capital regulation can be a powerful tool for enhancing the role of banks in the economy.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2013|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10 - D- 53113 Bonn|
Phone: +49-(0)228 / 91416-0
Fax: +49-(0)228 / 91416-55
Web page: http://www.coll.mpg.de/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2009.
"Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo,"
Yale School of Management Working Papers
amz2358, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2009.
- Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
- Priyank Gandhi & Hanno Lustig, 2010. "Size Anomalies in U.S. Bank Stock Returns: A Fiscal Explanation," NBER Working Papers 16553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Viral V. Acharya & Irvind Gujral & Nirupama Kulkarni & Hyun Song Shin, 2011.
"Dividends and Bank Capital in the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009,"
NBER Working Papers
16896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Acharya, Viral V & Gujral, Irvind & Kulkarni, Nirupama & Shin, Hyun Song, 2012. "Dividends and Bank Capital in the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009," CEPR Discussion Papers 8801, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Kenneth French & Martin Baily & John Campbell & John Cochrane & Douglas Diamond & Darrell Duffie & Anil Kashyap & Frederic Mishkin & Raghuram Rajan & David Scharfstein & Robert Shiller & Hyun Song Shi, 2010.
"The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System,"
Journal of Applied Corporate Finance,
Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(3), pages 8-21.
- Kenneth R. French & Martin N. Baily & John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane & Douglas W. Diamond & Darrell Duffie & Anil K Kashyap & Frederic S. Mishkin & Raghuram G. Rajan & David S. Scharfstein & Robe, 2010. "The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9261.
- Martin Hellwig, 2008.
"Systemic Risk in the Financial Sector: An Analysis of the Subprime-Mortgage Financial Crisis,"
Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
2008_43, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
- Martin Hellwig, 2009. "Systemic Risk in the Financial Sector: An Analysis of the Subprime-Mortgage Financial Crisis," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 129-207, June.
- Patrick Bolton & Hamid Mehran & Joel Shapiro, 2015.
"Executive Compensation and Risk Taking,"
Review of Finance,
European Finance Association, vol. 19(6), pages 2139-2181.
- Andrew Ang & Sergiy Gorovyy & Gregory B. van Inwegen, 2011.
"Hedge Fund Leverage,"
NBER Working Papers
16801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Calomiris, Charles W., 1999. "Building an incentive-compatible safety net," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(10), pages 1499-1519, October.
- Claudia M. Buch & Esteban Prieto, 2014.
"Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-Run Panel Evidence from Germany,"
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, 03.
- Buch, Claudia M. & Prieto, Esteban, 2012. "Do better capitalized banks lend less? Long-run panel evidence from Germany," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 37, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
- Claudia M. Buch & Esteban Prieto, 2012. "Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-Run Panel Evidence from Germany," IAW Discussion Papers 84, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
- Claudia M. Buch & Esteban Prieto, 2012. "Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-Run Panel Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3836, CESifo Group Munich.
- Hellwig, Christian, 2002. "Public Information, Private Information, and the Multiplicity of Equilibria in Coordination Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 191-222, December.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1993. "Market Liquidity and Performance Monitoring," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 678-709, August.
- Admati, Anat R. & DeMarzo, Peter M. & Hellwig, Martin F. & Pfleiderer, Paul, 2015.
"The Leverage Ratchet Effect,"
3435, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Admati, Anat R. & DeMarzo, Peter M. & Hellwig, Martin F. & Pfleiderer, Paul, 2013. "The Leverage Ratchet Effect," Research Papers 3029, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Anat R. Admati & Peter M. DeMarzo & Martin F. Hellwig & Paul Pfleiderer, 2013. "The Leverage Ratchet Effect," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_13, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
- C. Goodhart & M. Peiris & D. Tsomocos & A. Vardoulakis, 2010.
"On dividend restrictions and the collapse of the interbank market,"
Annals of Finance,
Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 455-473, October.
- Dimitrios Tsomocos & Charles Goodhart & M.U. Peiris & Alexandros Vardoulakis, 2010. "On Dividend Restrictions and the Collapse of the Interbank Market," FMG Discussion Papers dp648, Financial Markets Group.
- Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983.
"Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-419, June.
- Itay Goldstein & Ady Pauzner, 2005. "Demand-Deposit Contracts and the Probability of Bank Runs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1293-1327, 06.
- Gorton, Gary B., 2010. "Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199734153, December.
- Acharya, Viral V. & Schnabl, Philipp & Suarez, Gustavo, 2013.
"Securitization without risk transfer,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 107(3), pages 515-536.
- Acharya, Viral V & Schnabl, Philipp & Suarez, Gustavo, 2012. "Securitization Without Risk Transfer," CEPR Discussion Papers 8769, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Viral V. Acharya & Philipp Schnabl & Gustavo Suarez, 2010. "Securitization without risk transfer," NBER Working Papers 15730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard Davies & Belinda Tracey, 2014. "Too Big to Be Efficient? The Impact of Implicit Subsidies on Estimates of Scale Economies for Banks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(s1), pages 219-253, 02.
- Richard Brealey, 2006. "Basel II: The Route Ahead or Cul-de-Sac?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 18(4), pages 34-43.
- Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 2012. "Macroeconomic Shocks and Banking Regulation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 237-254, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2013_23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marc Martin)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.