Corrective Regulation with Imperfect Instruments

68 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2021 Last revised: 6 Mar 2022

See all articles by Eduardo Davila

Eduardo Davila

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ansgar Walther

Imperial College London; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: August 2021


This paper studies the optimal design of second-best corrective regulation, when some agents or activities cannot be perfectly regulated. We show that policy elasticities and Pigouvian wedges are sufficient statistics to characterize the marginal welfare impact of regulatory policies in a large class of environments. We show that the optimal second-best policy is determined by a subset of policy elasticities: leakage elasticities, and characterize the marginal value of relaxing regulatory constraints. We apply our results to scenarios with unregulated agents/activities and with uniform regulation across agents/activities. We illustrate our results in applications to shadow banking, scale-invariant regulation, asset substitution, and fire sales.

Suggested Citation

Davila, Eduardo and Walther, Ansgar, Corrective Regulation with Imperfect Instruments (August 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29160, Available at SSRN:

Eduardo Davila (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ansgar Walther

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

United Kingdom

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