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Size is usually seen as the leading indication of the costs that a bank failure would impose on society. As a result, the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 requires banks to have adequate capital and liquidity to mitigate default risk and imposes additional requirements on larger banks to enhance their safety. In this post, we show that it is highly uncommon for banks to reach sizes at which they are considered systemically important.
Valentin Haddad, Erik Loualiche, and Matthew Plosser
Buyout activity by financial investors fluctuates substantially over time. In the United States, peak years result in close to one hundred public-to-private buyout transactions and trough years in as few as ten. The typical buyout is primarily funded by debt, hence the term “leveraged buyout” (or LBO). As a result, analysis of buyout fluctuations has focused on the availability and cost of debt financing. However, in a recent staff report, we find that the overall cost of capital, rather than debt alone, is the primary driver of buyout activity. We argue that it is the common changes in both the cost of debt and the cost of equity—the aggregate risk premium—that are the source of booms and busts in buyout activity.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, job transitions of personnel in banking supervision and regulation between the public and private sectors—often labeled the revolving door—have come under intense scrutiny and have been blamed by certain economists (Johnson and Kwak), legal scholars (John Coffee in the Financial Times), and policymakers (Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, Section 968) for distorting regulators’ actions in favor of banks. However, other commentators have downplayed these distortions and presented a more benign viewpoint of these worker flows—as a means for regulatory agencies to attract higher-ability and skilled workers. Because data on job transitions in banking regulatory agencies are scarce, these discussions are mostly informed by anecdotes. Our recent paper brings more rigor to this debate by contributing a first set of stylized facts based on data related to incidence and drivers of worker flows in U.S. banking regulation. Our data show clear evidence of higher worker inflows to the regulatory sector during bad economic conditions. When we study worker flows as a function of an enforcement proxy, we find evidence to be inconsistent with the often-cited “quid-pro-quo” hypothesis. We instead posit an alternative “regulatory schooling” hypothesis that may better explain the empirical evidence.
Commercial banks didn’t become eligible for S-Corporation status until 1997, when President Bill Clinton signed legislation (the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996) that allowed commercial banks to select S-Corporation as their preferred tax status. In this post, we discuss the features and history of S-Corporations, as well as the effect of lifting the restriction on banks’ organizational tax choice.
This post is the tenth in a series of thirteen Liberty Street Economics posts on Large and Complex Banks.For more on this topic, see this special issue of the Economic Policy Review.
The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and its 209 registered subsidiaries was one of the largest and most complex in history, with more than $1 trillion of creditor claims in the United States alone, four bodies of applicable U.S. laws, and insolvency proceedings that involved over eighty international legal jurisdictions. The experience of resolving Lehman has led to an active debate regarding the effectiveness of applying the U.S. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Code to complex financial institutions. In this post, we draw on our Economic Policy Review article to highlight the challenges of resolving Lehman in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
This post is the second in a series of thirteen Liberty Street Economics posts on Large and Complex Banks. For more on this topic, see this special issue of the Economic Policy Review.
Despite recent financial reforms, there is still widespread concern that large banking firms remain “too big to fail.” As a solution, some reformers advocate capping the size of the largest banking firms. One consideration, however, is that while early literature found limited evidence for economies of scale, recent academic research has found evidence of scale economies in banking, even for the largest banking firms, implying that such caps could impose real costs on the economy. In our contribution to the volume on large and complex banks, we extend this line of research by studying the relationship between bank holding company (BHC) size and components of noninterest expense, in order to shed light on the sources of the scale economies identified in previous literature.
In global finance, leveraged buyouts (LBOs) are an important tool for restructuring corporations. LBO activities have had a turbulent history in the United States over the last three decades—from the junk-bond-financed wave of the 1980s to the most recent boom-and-bust episode of 2006-07 caused by the collapse of asset-backed securitization. The stylized view is that buyouts are a tool for extracting value through reorganization by streamlining low-growth public firms that have stable cash flows. This post shows that younger public firms experiencing weak financial interest from security analysts and low investor recognition are also more likely to go private. In many cases, founders and managers of these firms with insufficient analyst following had the opportunity to ascertain firsthand the costs and benefits of both private and public ownership, and they decided to go private again.
In this post, we offer comparisons between banks with and without publicly traded equity. Our post uses the link produced by the New York Fed containing regulatory identification numbers (RSSD ID) from the National Information Center (NIC) to the permanent company number (PERMCO) used by the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP). The list available via the data link allows researchers to match regulatory information on U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) with equity market information, including security prices. The link can be used to assist academic papers that conduct event studies on banks (recent papers using these data include Baker and Wurgler  and Ettredge et al. ).
Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and James Orr
As most of the New York metropolitan region begins to get back to normal following the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, researchers and analysts are trying to assess the total “economic cost” of the storm. But what, exactly, is meant by economic cost? Typically, those tallying up the economic cost of a disaster think of two types of costs: loss of capital (property damage and destruction) and loss of economic activity (caused by disruptions). But there is another important type of economic loss that often is not estimated or discussed in policymaking decisions: loss of welfare or deterioration in quality of life. Here we focus on how superstorm Sandy (and other such disasters) can have widespread adverse effects on quality of life, and provide some illustrations of how one can try to put an approximate dollar value on this type of cost.
In a new working
Lerner and I explore how the
venture capital (VC) model can be harnessed to achieve socially targeted ends
by examining the investment record of community development venture capital (CDVC)
firms. Our results are mixed. Investments made by CDVC firms are less likely to
succeed than are investments made by traditional VC firms. This lower
probability of success persists even after controlling for the fact that CDVC
firms invest in industries and geographies that have, on average, lower success
rates. However, we do find that CDVC firms have the benefit of bringing
traditional VC firms to underserved regions; controlling for the presence of
traditional VC investments, we find that each additional CDVC investment draws an
additional 0.06 new traditional VC firms to a region.
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