Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
Mohamed Belkhir, Samy Ben Naceur, Mr. Ralph Chami, and Anis Semet
Using a sample of publicly listed banks from 62 countries over the 1991-2017 period, we investigate the impact of capital on banks’ cost of equity. Consistent with the theoretical prediction that more equity in the capital mix leads to a fall in firms’ costs of equity, we find that better capitalized banks enjoy lower equity costs. Our baseline estimations indicate that a 1 percentage point increase in a bank’s equity-to-assets ratio lowers its cost of equity by about 18 basis points. Our results also suggest that the form of capital that investors value the most is sheer equity capital; other forms of capital, such as Tier 2 regulatory capital, are less (or not at all) valued by investors. Additionally, our main finding that capital has a negative effect on banks’ cost of equity holds in both developed and developing countries. The results of this paper provide the missing evidence in the debate on the effects of higher capital requirements on banks’ funding costs.