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The Economics of Bank Supervision

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  • Thomas M. Eisenbach
  • David O. Lucca
  • Robert M. Townsend

Abstract

We study bank supervision by combining a theoretical model distinguishing supervision from regulation and a novel dataset on work hours of Federal Reserve supervisors. We highlight the trade-offs between the benefits and costs of supervision and use the model to interpret the relation between supervisory efforts and bank characteristics observed in the data. More supervisory resources are spent on larger, more complex, and riskier banks. However, hours increase less than proportionally with bank size, suggesting the presence of technological scale economies in supervision. The data also show reallocation of supervisory hours at times of stress and in the post-2008 enhanced supervisory framework for large banks, providing evidence of constraints on supervisory resources. Finally, we show theoretically limits to assessing supervisory success based on ex-post outcomes, as well as benefits of ex-ante commitment policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas M. Eisenbach & David O. Lucca & Robert M. Townsend, 2016. "The Economics of Bank Supervision," NBER Working Papers 22201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2017. "Twin Peaks And Central Banks: Economics, Political Economy And Comparative Analysis," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1768, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    2. De Chiara, Alessandro & Livio, Luca & Ponce, Jorge, 2018. "Flexible and mandatory banking supervision," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 86-104.
    3. Natalya Martynova & Enrico Perotti & Javier Suarez, 2019. "Bank Capital Forbearance," Working Papers wp2019_1908, CEMFI.
    4. de Ramon, Sebastian & Francis, William & Milonas, Kristoffer, 2017. "An overview of the UK banking sector since the Basel Accord: insights from a new regulatory database," Bank of England working papers 652, Bank of England.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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