The Parade of the Bankers’ New Clothes Continues: 34 Flawed Claims Debunked

36 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2013 Last revised: 29 Aug 2019

See all articles by Anat R. Admati

Anat R. Admati

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Martin F. Hellwig

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Department of Economics; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: August 27, 2019


The debate on banking regulation has been dominated by flawed and misleading claims. The title of our book The Bankers New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It (Princeton University Press, 2013, see refers to flawed claims about banking and banking regulation, and the book discusses and debunks many of them.

Flawed claims continue to be made in the policy debate about banking and financial regulations, most recently in the context of proposals to weaken regulations meant reduce the excessive reliance of banks on debt funding. Because the financial system remains dangerous and distorted and because regulations to reduce indebtedness, if properly designed and enforced, would be highly beneficial for society, flawed claims about the issues must not win the policy debate.

This document provides a brief account of claims that we have come across since the book was published in February 2013. We provide brief responses, with references to more detailed discussions in the book and elsewhere. Many claims are asserted without any justification. Some are simply false or based on fallacious reasoning. Others are misleading or irrelevant, for example confusing costs and benefits to banks or bankers with costs and benefits to society, which must be the focus of policy. Still other claims are based on myths, i.e., implausible theories that ignore important parts of reality and are protected by the use of special jargon.

We first provide a list of the flawed claims that the rest of this document takes on. References to chapter numbers refer to our book. Nothing that we heard or read changes our conclusions or our strong policy recommendations.

Keywords: capital regulation, financial institutions, capital structure, capital regulation, too big to fail, systemic risk, bank equity, contingent capital

JEL Classification: G21, G28, G32, G38, H81, K23

Suggested Citation

Admati, Anat R. and Hellwig, Martin F., The Parade of the Bankers’ New Clothes Continues: 34 Flawed Claims Debunked (August 27, 2019). Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Working Paper No. 143, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 15-58, Available at SSRN: or

Anat R. Admati (Contact Author)

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Martin F. Hellwig

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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University of Bonn - Department of Economics

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