A Comment Concerning Deposit Insurance and Moral Hazard
Hooks and Robinson argue that moral hazard induced by deposit insurance induced banks to invest in riskier assets in Texas during the 1920s. Their regressions suggest this manifestation of moral hazard may explain a portion of the events that occurred during the 1920s, but some other phenomena, hitherto overlooked, must also be at work. Economic logic and evidence form the archives of the Board of Governors suggest that phenomenon is mismanagement and defalcation by corporate officers, which increases when insurance reduces depositors' incentives to monitor and react to the safety and soundness of banks.
I thank colleagues for comments on earlier drafts of this essay. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.