NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Björn Richter

Institute for Macroeconomics and Econometrics
University of Bonn
Kaiserplatz, 7-9 4th floor
53113, Bonn, Germany

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2017Bank Capital Redux: Solvency, Liquidity, and Crisis
with Òscar Jordà, Moritz Schularick, Alan M. Taylor: w23287
Higher capital ratios are unlikely to prevent a financial crisis. This is empirically true both for the entire history of advanced economies between 1870 and 2013 and for the post-WW2 period, and holds both within and between countries. We reach this startling conclusion using newly collected data on the liability side of banks’ balance sheets in 17 countries. A solvency indicator, the capital ratio has no value as a crisis predictor; but we find that liquidity indicators such as the loan-to-deposit ratio and the share of non-deposit funding do signal financial fragility, although they add little predictive power relative to that of credit growth on the asset side of the balance sheet. However, higher capital buffers have social benefits in terms of macro-stability: recoveries from financi...
 
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