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The Welfare Cost of Banking Regulation

  • Fulbert Tchana Tchana

The Basel Accords promote the adoption of capital adequacy requirements to increase the banking sector's stability. Unfortunately, this type of regulation can hamper economic growth by shifting banks' portfolios from more productive, risky investment projects toward less productive but safer projects. This paper introduces banking regulation in an overlapping-generations model and studies how it affects economic growth, banking sector stability, and welfare. In this model, a banking crisis is initiated by an aggregated shock (in the risky sector) in a banking system with implicit bailout, and banking regulation is modeled as a constraint on the maximal share of banks' portfolios that can be allocated to risky assets. This model allows us to evaluate quantitatively the key trade-o®, inherent in this type of regulation, between ensuring banking stability and fostering economic growth. The model implies an optimal level of regulation that prevents crises but at the same time is detrimental to growth. We find that the overall effect of optimal regulation on social welfare is positive when productivity shocks are sufficiently high (for example, in the subprime banking crisis episode) and economic agents are sufficiently risk-averse. Finally, we find that there is a trade-off between regulating the economy upfront (i.e. before the shock) and facing the challenge of making a huge bailout after the crisis.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 121.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:121
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  1. Barth, James R. & Caprio, Gerard Jr. & Levine, Ross, 2004. "Bank regulation and supervision: what works best?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 205-248, April.
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  12. Marina Halac & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2004. "Distributional Effects of Crises: The Financial Channel," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  13. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
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  16. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, August.
  17. Gary Richardson & William Troost, 2006. "Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics During the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Federal Reserve District Border in Mississippi, 1929 to 1933," NBER Working Papers 12591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Skander Van den Heuvel, 2005. "The Welfare Cost of Bank Capital Requirements," 2005 Meeting Papers 880, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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