Conferences at Department of Economics, University of Toronto, RCEF 2012: Cities, Open Economies, and Public Policy

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Does Macro-Pru Leak? Evidence from a UK Policy Experiment

Shekhar Aiyar, Charles Calomiris, Tomasz Wieladek

Last modified: 2012-07-10


The regulation of bank capital as a means of smoothing the credit cycle is a central element of forthcoming macro-prudential regimes. While regulation is typically carried out at the national level, the global setting of such regulation is important in an era of banks with branches and subsidiaries in many countries. For such regulation to be effective in controlling the aggregate supply of credit it must be the case that: (i) changes in capital requirements affect loan supply by regulated banks, and (ii) unregulated substitute sources of credit are unable to offset changes in credit supply by affected banks. This paper examines micro evidence—lacking to date—on both questions, using a unique dataset. In the UK, regulators have imposed time-varying, bank-specific minimum capital requirements since Basel I. It is found that regulated banks (UK-owned banks and resident foreign subsidiaries) reduce lending in response to tighter capital requirements. But unregulated banks (resident foreign branches) increase lending in response to tighter capital requirements on a relevant reference group of regulated banks. This “leakage” is substantial, amounting to about one-third of the initial impulse from the regulatory change.

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