Banking crises and government intervention

Banking crises and government intervention

Intervention has taken different forms in different countries and periods of time. Moreover, recent episodes showed that in front of an imminent crisis, the promise of no interventions made by governments is barely credible. In this paper we address the problem of resolving banking crises from the government perspective, taking into account the fact that preventing banking crises is crucial for the government. In addition, we introduce the moral hazard problem, inherent in the banking system, and consider the interaction between regulation, policy measures and banks’ behavior. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that compares different policy plans to resolve banking crises in an environment where insufficiently capitalized banks have incentives to take risk, and the government has to decide whether to provide public services or impede crises. We show that when individuals highly value public services then the best policy in terms of welfare is to apply the tax on early withdrawals, as the government can transfer those taxes to the whole population by investing in public services (although at some cost). Conversely, when individuals assign a low value to consuming public services, recapitalization is the dominant policy. Finally, when the probability of a crisis is sufficiently high, capital requirements should be used.

Jaime H. García-Palacios, Augusto Hasman, and Margarita Samartín

Journal of Financial Stability

December 2014

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