Michele Lanotte, Pietro Tommasino, 05 February 2018

Late last year, the Basel Committee decided to maintain the status quo regarding regulation of banks’ sovereign debt holdings. This column summarises the reasons to be cautious of stricter regulation of banks’ sovereign exposures. Theory and experience suggest small net benefits from such a reform, with possible increases in tail risks. The best instrument to tackle the problem is not microprudential regulation, but sounder public finances and the completion of the banking union.

Thomas Gehrig, Maria Chiara Iannino, 21 April 2017

The first Basel Accord initiated what has become a three decade-long process of regulatory convergence of the international banking system. This column argues that by trying to regulate minimal capital standards, the Basel process itself contributed to an ever-increasing shortfall in aggregate bank capital. Consequently, European banks have become increasingly exposed to systemic risk, suggesting that expansive monetary policy could adversely affect the resiliency of banks. 

Philippe Bacchetta, Ouarda Merrouche, 16 January 2016

Economists now tend to stress the role of global banks in the transmission of the Global Crisis. This column argues that the retrenchment of Eurozone banks opened regulatory arbitrage opportunities for US banks. The fact that US banks, and in particular the most risky US banks, fully exploited these opportunities had a salubrious effect on credit-constrained corporates and employment. It seems the move from Basel I to Basel II with risk-sensitive capital requirements amplifies the credit cycle.

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