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Kicking the Can Down the Road: Government Interventions in the European Banking Sector

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  • Viral V. Acharya
  • Lea Borchert
  • Maximilian Jager
  • Sascha Steffen

Abstract

We analyze the determinants and the long-run consequences of government interventions in the eurozone banking sector during the 2008/09 financial crisis. Using a novel and comprehensive dataset, we document that fiscally constrained governments “kicked the can down the road” by providing banks with guarantees instead of full-fledged recapitalizations. We adopt an econometric approach that addresses the endogeneity associated with governmental bailout decisions in identifying their consequences. We find that forbearance caused undercapitalized banks to shift their assets from loans to risky sovereign debt and engage in zombie lending, resulting in weaker credit supply, elevated risk in the banking sector, and, eventually, greater reliance on liquidity support from the European Central Bank.

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  • Viral V. Acharya & Lea Borchert & Maximilian Jager & Sascha Steffen, 2020. "Kicking the Can Down the Road: Government Interventions in the European Banking Sector," NBER Working Papers 27537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27537
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • 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
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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