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What We Learn from China's Rising Shadow Banking: Exploring the Nexus of Monetary Tightening and Banks' Role in Entrusted Lending

Kaiji Chen, Jue Ren, Tao Zha

NBER Working Paper No. 21890
Issued in January 2016
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Law and Economics, Monetary Economics

We argue that China's rising shadow banking was inextricably linked to potential balance-sheet risks in the banking system. We substantiate this argument with three didactic findings: (1) commercial banks in general were prone to engage in channeling risky entrusted loans; (2) shadow banking through entrusted lending masked small banks' exposure to balance-sheet risks; and (3) two well-intended regulations and institutional asymmetry between large and small banks combined to give small banks an incentive to exploit regulatory arbitrage by bringing off-balance-sheet risks into the balance sheet. We reveal these findings by constructing a comprehensive transaction-based loan dataset, providing robust empirical evidence, and developing a theoretical framework to explain the linkages between monetary policy, shadow banking, and traditional banking (the banking system) in China.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21890

AER (forthcoming)

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