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Leverage and Risk Taking under Moral Hazard


  • Hott, Christian


This paper examines the impact of implicit guarantees and capital regulations on the behavior of a bank and on the expected losses for its depositors. I show that implicit guarantees increase the incentives of the bank to enhance leverage and/or risk taking and that this leads to higher expected losses for its depositors. To reduce the adverse effects of moral hazard, policy measures have to be taken. However, a simple leverage ratio is likely to increase expected losses further and risk adjusted capital requirements do not necessarily affect highly leveraged banks with very low risk assets. A combination of both requirements can be successful. Positive long-term effects can be achieved by a reduction of moral hazard and informational imperfections. However, it is difficult to achieve these reductions and potentially severe short-term effects have to be taken into account.

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  • Hott, Christian, 2013. "Leverage and Risk Taking under Moral Hazard," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79960, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79960

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blum, Jürg M., 2008. "Why 'Basel II' may need a leverage ratio restriction," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1699-1707, August.
    2. Kim, Daesik & Santomero, Anthony M, 1988. " Risk in Banking and Capital Regulation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(5), pages 1219-1233, December.
    3. Gennotte, Gerard & Pyle, David, 1991. "Capital controls and bank risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(4-5), pages 805-824, September.
    4. Rebecca Demsetz & Marc R. Saidenberg & Philip E. Strahan, 1996. "Banks with something to lose: the disciplinary role of franchise value," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 1-14.
    5. Kahane, Yehuda, 1977. "Capital adequacy and the regulation of financial intermediaries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 207-218, October.
    6. VanHoose, David, 2007. "Theories of bank behavior under capital regulation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 3680-3697, December.
    7. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
    8. Furlong, Frederick T. & Keeley, Michael C., 1989. "Capital regulation and bank risk-taking: A note," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 883-891, December.
    9. Ashcraft, Adam B., 2008. "Does the market discipline banks? New evidence from regulatory capital mix," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 543-561, October.
    10. Blum, Jurg, 1999. "Do capital adequacy requirements reduce risks in banking?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 755-771, May.
    11. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
    12. Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1992. "Capital requirements and the behaviour of commercial banks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1137-1170, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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