Designing Countercyclical Capital Buffers

Brett McDonnell

University of Minnesota Law School


18 North Carolina Banking Institute Journal 123 (2013)
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-16

This essay explores the new countercyclical capital buffer requirement that is a part of both the Basel III and Dodd-Frank rulemaking efforts following the financial crisis. The new buffer will require banks to hold higher levels of capital reserves during times that regulators determine capital markets have created excessive levels of debt. This essay briefly explores why financial regulation tends to be procyclical, how the new capital buffer attempts to address that tendency, and how well the attempt is likely to work. The verdict is mixed. The new countercyclical buffer may do some good. However, some features in its design may lead to it not being triggered when it should, and to weakening its effect even when it is triggered. The essay suggests some design tweaks which may help.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: countercylical, capital requirements, countercyclical capital buffer

JEL Classification: D73, E32, E58, F39, G21, K20

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Date posted: March 14, 2014  

Suggested Citation

McDonnell, Brett, Designing Countercyclical Capital Buffers (2013). 18 North Carolina Banking Institute Journal 123 (2013); Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-16. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2408734

Contact Information

Brett H. McDonnell (Contact Author)
University of Minnesota Law School ( email )
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-625-1373 (Phone)
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