Janine Aron, John Muellbauer, 07 May 2019

Mobile money has transformed the landscape of financial inclusion in developing and emerging market countries, leapfrogging the provision of formal banking services. This column explains how mobile money potentially helps ameliorate several areas of market failure in developing economies, including saving, insurance, and the empowerment of women. It illustrates these effects using examples from a burgeoning empirical literature and concludes that the system-wide effects of mobile money may be even greater than current studies suggest.

Sanjiv Das, Kris Mitchener, Angela Vossmeyer, 11 March 2019

The Global Crisis brought attention to how connections among financial institutions may make systems more prone to crises. Turning to a major financial crisis from the past, this column uses data from the Great Depression to study risk in the commercial banking network leading up to the crisis and how the network structure influenced the outcomes. It demonstrates that when the distribution of risk is more concentrated at the top of the system, as it was in 1929, fragility and the propensity for risk to spread increases.


Submissions are sought on the following themes:
• Digital currencies, fintech, and technology
• Regulation, markets, and financial intermediation
• International economics
• Macroeconomics, monetary policy, macrofinance, monetary policy frameworks, and communication
• Inflation dynamics
• Policy lessons from the history of finance and central banking
The deadline for submissions is Saturday, February 2nd.
The meeting commences on Thursday, July 18 at the FRB New York, featuring presentations by Nellie Liang and Jeremy C. Stein, and John C. Williams.
The 31 contributed sessions take place on Friday and Saturday, July 19-20 at the Kellogg Center, SIPA, Columbia University. Contributed sessions are organized by BIS, FSB, IMF, SNB, FRB St. Louis, Bank of Israel, FRB Cleveland, ECB, Riksbank, FRB San Francisco, Norges Bank, Bank of Spain, Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, Bank of Korea, OeNB, FRB Minneapolis, Bundesbank, Central Bank of Ireland, SAFE, CEPR, ABFER, and IBRN.

João Granja, Christian Leuz, Raghuram Rajan, 04 December 2018

Risk taking was pervasive during the Global Crisis even in the most unlikely areas, such as stretching to lend at a distance. Using US data, this column examines the degree to which competition amongst lenders interacts with the cyclicality in lending standards using a simple and policy-relevant measure, the average physical distance of borrowers from banks’ branches. It finds that distances widen considerably when credit conditions are lax and shorten considerably when credit conditions become tighter. A sharp departure from the trend in distance between banks and borrowers is indicative of increased risk taking. 


After seven successful workshops, the organizing committee of this small informal workshop invites submissions of high-quality theoretical and empirical research on financial intermediation. Scholars in the fields of banking and finance will meet to discuss current issues in banking, financial stability, and financial regulation, focusing on policy reforms for a stable global financial environment. The workshop will provide an opportunity for presentations and discussions about policy-relevant research in an informal and highly interactive environment.

Thorsten Beck, Emily Jones , Peter Knaack, 15 October 2018

In today’s world of globalised finance, regulators in developing countries have to weigh up the international ramifications of their decisions. This column presents the results of a research project which combines cross-country panel analysis and in-depth case studies of the political economy of the adoption of Basel II/III in the developing world. It finds that regulators in developing countries do not merely adopt Basel II/III because these standards provide the optimal technical solution to financial stability risks in their jurisdictions; concerns about reputation and competition are also important. 

Peter Koudijs, Laura Salisbury, Gurpal Sran, 06 October 2018

In order to protect the financial system from excessive risk-taking, many argue that bank managers need to have more personal liability. However, whether the liability of bank managers has a significant effect on risk-taking is an open question. This column studies a unique historical episode in which similar bankers, operating in similar institutional and economic environments, faced different degrees of personal liability, depending on the timing of their marriages, and finds that limited liability induced bankers to take more risks.

Vincent Bouvatier, Gunther Capelle-Blancard, Anne-Laure Delatte, 11 September 2018

Tax havens are estimated to concentrate 8% of global private financial wealth, reducing annual global tax revenues by about $200 billion. This column uses new country-by-country regulatory data on the foreign commercial presence of EU banks and compares it against gravity model predictions to examine the contribution of EU banks to tax evasion. It finds that bank activity in tax havens is three times larger than what is predicted by the gravity model, and that British and German banks are particularly present in tax havens. 

Signe Krogstrup, Cédric Tille, 29 August 2018

Volatility in international capital flows can disrupt international trade and finance. This column explores the role of agents’ exposure to risk in this dynamic, focusing on domestic financial firms. It finds that the impact of an increase in risk aversion on foreign currency funding is conditional on the bank’s initial net currency exposure. This suggests that the empirical link from global factors to cross-border bank funding depends on country-specific characteristics of financial institutions.

Giorgio Barba Navaretti, Giacomo Calzolari, Alberto Pozzolo, 01 March 2018

Financial technology companies have spurred innovation in financial services while fostering competition amongst incumbent players. This column argues that although incumbents face rising competitive pressure, they are unlikely to be fully replaced by FinTechs in many of their key functions. Traditional banks will adapt to technological innovations, and the scope for regulatory arbitrage will decline.


The 7th MoFiR Workshop on Banking will be held in Ancona, Italy, at the Università Politecnica delle Marche on June 14-15, 2018.

The organizing committee of this small informal workshop invites submissions of high-quality theoretical and empirical research on financial intermediation. Scholars in the fields of banking and finance will meet to discuss current issues in banking, financial stability, and financial regulation, focusing on policy reforms for a stable global financial environment. The workshop will provide an opportunity for presentations and discussions about policy-relevant research in an informal and highly interactive environment.

The keynote speaker will be George G. Pennacchi (University of Illinois).

Travel and accommodation costs for presenters and invited discussants will be reimbursed for an amount up to EUR 500 for European travelers and EUR 1,200 for overseas travelers.

Yener Altunbaş, Simone Manganelli, David Marques-Ibanez, 14 November 2017

Prudential supervision of banks has increasingly relied on capital requirements. But bank capital played a relatively minor role in predicting bank solvency during the Global Crisis, except for scarcely capitalised banks. This column argues that while capital is a helpful tool to support bank financial stability, it is complex for supervisors to calibrate it precisely. Macroprudential authorities should be able to complement capital-based tools with additional, borrower-based prudential instruments.

John Vickers, 18 October 2017

How safe should banks be? In this video, John Vickers points out that regulators and academics have diverging points of view regarding banks' capital requirements. This video was recorded at the "10 years after the crisis" conference held in London, on 22 September 2017.

Richard Baldwin, Thomas Huertas, Tessa Ogden, 13 October 2017

The Global Crisis started ten years ago and proved a turning point in global economic policy. CEPR organised a high-level conference to discuss whether the regulatory reaction has been sufficient and where the next crisis might come from. This column summarises the conference discussions and introduces a set of video interviews with leading economists at the conference, including Paul Krugman, Anat Admati, John Vickers, Paul Tucker, among others.

Louis Nguyen, Jens Hagendorff, Arman Eshraghi, 02 October 2017

We know that managerial traits help explain firm performance, but we don't know whether the cultural heritage of those managers has a role in shaping performance through their behaviour. This column uses a novel dataset of bank CEO ancestry to argue that descendants of recent immigrants outperform their peers when competition is high. Banks led by CEOs whose cultural heritage emphasises restraint, group-mindedness, and long-term orientation are safer, more cost efficient, and are associated with more cautious acquisitions.

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Zigan Wang, 26 June 2017

While the causes and consequences of mergers have received a lot of scholarly attention, geographic factors have thus far been neglected. Using US data, this column argues that greater geographic overlap of the subsidiaries and branches of two bank holding companies increases the likelihood of the two merging, and also boosts the cumulative abnormal returns of the acquirer, target, and merged companies. It also discusses how network overlap can affect synergies and value creation.

Mary Amiti, David Weinstein, 12 February 2017

We are living in a world in which banks are large relative to the economies they serve. This column uses comprehensive data on Japanese banks from 1990 to 2010 to examine how the fates of individual banks matter for aggregate performance. Much of the fluctuation in Japanese aggregate investment appears to be driven by the idiosyncratic successes and failures of a limited number of institutions, and there is good reason to believe that the situation is similar in many developed countries.

Peter Cziraki, Christian Laux, Gyöngyi Lóránth, 26 October 2016

Banks' payout decisions at the beginning of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 were particularly controversial as the crisis eroded the capital of many banks. Concerns were raised that banks may have engaged in wealth transfer to shareholders, or that they may have been reluctant to reduce dividends to avoid negative signalling. This column examines these arguments using a large dataset on US bank holding companies. Cross-sectional tests do not provide clear-cut evidence of active wealth transfer. Similarly, the evidence on signalling is mixed.

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie, 07 October 2016

Many policies have been put in place to constrain the expansion of banks across economic borders, in part to avoid them becoming too big and interconnected to fail. However, some argue that such expansion can reduce risk. This column evaluates the impact of geographic expansion on the cost of a bank’s interest-bearing liabilities. Geographic diversification materially lowers bank holding companies’ funding costs, suggesting there is a real cost of restricting banks from using geographic expansion to diversify their risks.

Priyank Gandhi, Hanno Lustig, Alberto Plazzi, 21 August 2016

Governments and regulators are commonly assumed to offer special protection to the stakeholders of large financial institutions during financial crises. This column measures the ex ante cost of implicit shareholder guarantees to financial institutions in crises, and suggests that such protection affects small and large financial institutions differently. The evidence suggests that in the event of a financial crisis, stock investors price in the implicit government guarantees extended to large financial institutions, but not to small ones. 



CEPR Policy Research