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Safe and sound banking : a role for countercyclical regulatory requirements ?

  • Caprio, Gerard, Jr.

Most explanations of the crisis of 2007-2009 emphasize the role of the preceding boom in real estate and asset markets in a variety of advanced countries. As a result, an idea that is gaining support among various groups is how to make Basel II or any regulatory regime less pro-cyclical. This paper addresses the rationale for and likely contribution of such policies. Making provisioning (or capital) requirements countercyclical is one way potentially to address pro-cyclicality, and accordingly it looks at the efforts of the authorities in Spain and Colombia, two countries in which countercyclical provisioning has been tried, to see what the track record has been. As explained there, these experiments have been at best too recent and limited to put much weight on them, but they are much less favorable for supporting this practice than is commonly admitted. The paper then addresses concerns and implementation issues with countercyclical capital or provisioning requirements, including why their impact might be expected to be limited, and concludes with recommendations for developing country officials who want to learn how to make their financial systems less exposed to crises.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5198.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5198
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  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 13882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter Temin & Joachim Voth, 2004. "Riding the South Sea bubble," Economics Working Papers 861, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2009. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2008," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
  4. Adam S. Posen, 2006. "Why Central Banks Should Not Burst Bubbles," Working Paper Series WP06-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  5. Larry D. Wall & Timothy W. Koch, 2000. "Bank loan-loss accounting: a review of theoretical and empirical evidence," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q2, pages 1-20.
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