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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. Kok, Christoffer & Müller, Carola & Ongena, Steven & Pancaro, Cosimo, 2021. "The disciplining effect of supervisory scrutiny in the EU-wide stress test," Working Paper Series 2551, European Central Bank.
    3. Martynova, Natalya & Perotti, Enrico C. & Suárez, Javier, 2020. "Bank capital forbearance and serial gambling," Discussion Papers 56/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    4. Beverly Hirtle & Anna Kovner, 2022. "Bank Supervision," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 39-56, November.
    5. De Chiara, Alessandro & Livio, Luca & Ponce, Jorge, 2018. "Flexible and mandatory banking supervision," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 86-104.
    6. Jean-Edouard Colliard, 2019. "Strategic Selection of Risk Models and Bank Capital Regulation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(6), pages 2591-2606, June.
    7. Beverly Hirtle & Anna Kovner & Matthew Plosser, 2020. "The Impact of Supervision on Bank Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(5), pages 2765-2808, October.
    8. Carlos Altavilla & Miguel Boucinha & José-Luis Peydró & Frank Smets, 2019. "Banking supervision, monetary policy and risk-taking: Big data evidence from 15 credit registers," Economics Working Papers 1684, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2020.
    9. Keuschnigg, Christian & Kogler, Michael, 2020. "The Schumpeterian role of banks: Credit reallocation and capital structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    10. Andreas Fuster & Matthew Plosser & James Vickery, 2018. "Does CFPB Oversight Crimp Credit?," Staff Reports 857, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    11. Rafael Repullo, 2017. "Hierarchical Bank Supervision," Working Papers wp2018_1718, CEMFI.
    12. Martynova, Natalya & Perotti, Enrico & Suarez, Javier, 2019. "Bank capital forbearance," ESRB Working Paper Series 93, European Systemic Risk Board.
    13. Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Beverly Hirtle & David O. Lucca, 2016. "Parsing the content of bank supervision," Staff Reports 770, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Rafael Repullo, 2018. "Hierarchical bank supervision," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 1-26, March.
    15. Jianxing Wei & Tong Xu, 2018. "A Model of Bank Credit Cycles," 2018 Meeting Papers 610, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. T. Carraro & Edoardo Gaffeo & Marco Gallegati, 2021. "Risk and Strategic Complementarities: Banks Behavior, Supervision and Macroprudential Policies," Working Papers 452, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    17. Karel Janda & Oleg Kravtsov, 2020. "Banking Supervision and Risk-Adjusted Performance inthe Host Country Environment," FFA Working Papers 3.001, Prague University of Economics and Business, revised 19 Nov 2020.
    18. 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.
    19. Fatih Tuluk, 2021. "Collateral Misrepresentation, External Auditing, and Optimal Supervisory Policy," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 32(5), pages 975-1016, November.

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    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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