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What Is Optimal Financial Regulation?

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  • Richard J. Herring
  • Anthony M. Santomero

Abstract

The financial system is regulated to achieve a wide variety of purposes. However, the objective that distinguishes financial regulation from other kinds is that of safeguarding the economy against systemic risk. Concerns regarding systemic risk focus largely on banks, which traditionally have been considered to have a special role in the economy. The safety nets that have been rigged to protect banks from systemic risk have succeeded in preventing banking panics, but at the cost of distorting incentives for risk taking. Regulators have a variety of options to correct this distortion, but none can be relied upon to produce an optimal solution. Technological and conceptual advances may be ameliorating the problem, nonetheless. Banks are becoming less special. The US is leading the way, but the trends are apparent in other industrial countries as well. The challenge facing regulators is to facilitate these advances and hasten the end of the special status of banks. Once banks have lost their special status, financial safety nets may be dismantled thus ending the distortions they create. Ultimately, regulation for prudential purposes may be completely unnecessary. The optimal regulation for safety and soundness purposes may be no regulation at all.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard J. Herring & Anthony M. Santomero, 2000. "What Is Optimal Financial Regulation?," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-34, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:00-34
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    File URL: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/00/0034.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Niemeyer, Jonas, 2001. "Where to Go after the Lamfalussy Report? - An Economic Analysis of Securities Market Regulation and Supervision," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 482, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Edgardo Demaestri & Gustavo Ferro, 2013. "Analysis of the Integration of Financial Regulation and Supervision to the Central Bank," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(68), pages 75-106, June.
    3. Klüh, Ulrich, 2005. "Safety Net Design and Systemic Risk: New Empirical Evidence," Discussion Papers in Economics 662, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Giorgio Di Giorgio & Carmine Di Noia, 2001. "Financial Regulation and Supervision in the Euro Area: A Four-Peak Proposal," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-02, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Schüler, Martin, 2003. "How Do Banking Supervisors Deal with Europe-wide Systemic Risk?," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-03, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Franklin Allen & Richard Herring, 2001. "Banking Regulation versus Securities Market Regulation," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-29, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    7. Cihak, Martin & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Johnston, R. Barry, 2013. "Incentive audits : a new approach to financial regulation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6308, The World Bank.
    8. Anthony M Santomero & David L. Eckles, 2000. "The Determinants Of Success In the New Financial Services Environment: Now That Firms Can Do Everything, What Should They Do And Why Should Regulators Care?," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    9. Stergios Leventis & Panagiotis Dimitropoulos, 2012. "The role of corporate governance in earnings management: experience from US banks," Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 161-177, September.

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