An Empirical Economic Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of Bank Capital in the US

52 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2017

See all articles by Simon Firestone

Simon Firestone

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Amy Lorenc

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Benjamin Ranish

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: 2017-03-31

Abstract

We evaluate the economic costs and benefits for bank capital levels in the United States. The framework and analysis is similar to that found in previous studies though we tailor the analysis to the specific features and experience of the U.S. financial system and account for the impact of new financial regulations. The conceptual framework identifies the benefits of bank capital with a lower probability of financial crises, which result in decreased economic output. The costs of bank capital are identified with increases in banks cost of funding, which are passed along to borrowers and result in a lower level of economic output. Optimal capital maximize the difference between benefits and costs or net benefits. Using a range of empirical estimates of net benefits we find that the optimal level of bank capital in the United States ranges from just over 13 percent to over 26 percent.

Keywords: Banking, Capital, Cost benefit

JEL Classification: E6, G21

Suggested Citation

Firestone, Simon and Lorenc, Amy and Ranish, Benjamin, An Empirical Economic Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of Bank Capital in the US (2017-03-31). FEDS Working Paper No. 2017-034. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2946814 or http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2017.034

Simon Firestone (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Amy Lorenc

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Benjamin Ranish

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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