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  Bank Leverage, Welfare, and Regulation

Admati, A. R., & Hellwig, M. F. (2018). Bank Leverage, Welfare, and Regulation.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-8020-8 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-FF1D-0
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We take issue with claims that the funding mix of banks, which makes them fragile and crisisprone, is efficient because it reflects special liquidity benefits of bank debt. Even aside from neglecting the systemic damage to the economy that banks’ distress and default cause, such claims are invalid because banks have multiple small creditors and are unable to commit effectively to their overall funding mix and investment strategy ex ante. The resulting market outcomes under laissez-faire are inefficient and involve excessive borrowing, with default risks that jeopardize the purported liquidity benefits. Contrary to claims in the literature that “equity is expensive” and that regulation requiring more equity in the funding mix entails costs to society, such regulation actually helps create useful commitment for banks to avoid the inefficiently high borrowing that comes under laissez-faire. Effective regulation is beneficial even without considering systemic risk; if such regulation also reduces systemic risk, the benefits are even larger.

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 Creators:
Admati, Anat R., Author
Hellwig, Martin F.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society, ou_2173688              

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Free keywords: Liquidity in banking, leverage in banking, banking regulation, capital structure, capital regulations, agency costs, commitment, contracting, maturity rat race, leverage ratchet effect, Basel
 JEL: D04 - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation
 JEL: D53 - Financial Markets
 JEL: D61 - Allocative Efficiency; Cost–Benefit Analysis
 JEL: G01 - Financial Crises
 JEL: G18 - Government Policy and Regulation
 JEL: G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
 JEL: G24 - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage; Ratings and Ratings Agencies
 JEL: G28 - Government Policy and Regulation
 JEL: G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
 JEL: G38 - Government Policy and Regulation
 JEL: H81 - Governmental Loans; Loan Guarantees; Credits; Grants; Bailouts
 JEL: K23 - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
 Abstract: We take issue with claims that the funding mix of banks, which makes them fragile and crisis-prone, is efficient because it reflects special liquidity benefits of bank debt. Even aside from neglecting the systemic damage to the economy that banks’ distress and default cause, such claims are invalid because banks have multiple small creditors and are unable to commit effectively to their overall funding mix and investment strategy ex ante. The resulting market outcomes under laissez-faire are inefficient and involve excessive borrowing, with default risks that jeopardize the purported liquidity benefits. Contrary to claims in the literature that “equity is expensive” and that regulation requiring more equity in the funding mix entails costs to society, such regulation actually helps create useful commitment for banks to avoid the inefficiently high borrowing that comes under laissez-faire. Effective regulation is beneficial even without considering systemic risk; if such regulation also reduces systemic risk, the benefits are even larger.

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 Dates: 2019-01-142018
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: Bonn : Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: Other: 2018/13
 Degree: -

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