Does More “Skin in the Game” Mitigate Bank Risk-Taking?
It is widely said that a lack of “skin in the game” would distort lenders’ incentives and cause a moral hazard problem, that is, excessive risk-taking. If so, does more skin in the game—in the form of extended liability—reduce bankers’ risk-taking? In order to examine this question, we investigate historical data prior to the Great Depression, when bank owners’ liability for losses in the event of bank failure differed by state and primary regulator. This post describes our preliminary findings.