The Right Balance for Banks

Theory and Evidence on Optimal Capital Requirements

William R. Cline

Peterson Institute for International Economics

The Right Balance for Banks

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Pub Date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780881327212

175 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $23.95

The Right Balance for Banks

Theory and Evidence on Optimal Capital Requirements

William R. Cline

Peterson Institute for International Economics

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The global financial crisis produced an important agreement among regulators in 2010–11 to raise capital requirements for banks to protect them from insolvency in the event of another emergency. In this book, William R. Cline, a leading expert on the global financial system, employs sophisticated economic models to analyze whether these reforms, embodied in the Third Basel Accord, have gone far enough. He calculates how much higher bank capital reduces the risk of banking crises, providing a benefit to the economy. On the cost side, he estimates how much higher capital requirements raise the lending rate facing firms, reducing investment in plant and equipment and thus reducing output in the economy. Applying a plausible range of parameters, Cline arrives at estimates for the optimal level of equity capital relative to total bank assets. This study also challenges the recent "too much finance" literature, which holds that in advanced countries banking sectors are already too large and are curbing growth.

About the Author

William R. Cline has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics since 1981. During 1996–2001, Cline was deputy managing director and chief economist of the Institute of International Finance in Washington, DC. From 2002 through 2011, he held a joint appointment with the Peterson Institute and the Center for Global Development, where he is currently senior fellow emeritus.