Regulatory Capture by Sophistication

33 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2014

See all articles by Hendrik Hakenes

Hendrik Hakenes

Finance Group; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Isabel Schnabel

University of Bonn - Institute for Financial Economics and Statistics; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 28, 2014

Abstract

One explanation for the poor performance of regulation in the recent financial crisis is that regulators had been captured by the financial sector. We present a micro-founded model with rational agents in which banks capture regulators by their sophistication. Banks can search for arguments of differing complexity against tighter regulation. Finding such arguments is more difficult for weaker banks, which the regulator wants to regulate more strictly. However, the more sophisticated a bank is, the more easily it can produce arguments that a regulator does not understand. Reputational concerns prevent regulators from admitting this, hence they rubber-stamp weak banks, which leads to inefficiently low levels of regulation. Bank sophistication and reputational concerns of regulators lead to capture, and thus to worse regulatory decisions.

Keywords: Regulatory capture, special interests, banking regulation, sophistication, reputational concerns, financial stability, complexity

JEL Classification: G21, G28, L51, P16

Suggested Citation

Hakenes, Hendrik and Schnabel, Isabel, Regulatory Capture by Sophistication (November 28, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2531688 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2531688

Hendrik Hakenes (Contact Author)

Finance Group ( email )

Adenauerallee 24-42
D-53113 Bonn
Germany
+49-228-73-9225 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.finance.uni-bonn.de/hakenes

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Isabel Schnabel

University of Bonn - Institute for Financial Economics and Statistics ( email )

Adenauerallee 24-42
Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.finance.uni-bonn.de/schnabel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+49-228-9141665 (Phone)
+49-228-9141621 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/team/page/isabel_schnabel

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