Banking Risks Around the World: The Implicit Safety Net Subsidy Approach

34 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Luc Laeven

Luc Laeven

European Central Bank (ECB); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 2000


The degree of risk taking by a bank is related to the size of the gross subsidy that has been extended to the bank by the safety net. This subsidy can be calculated by applying a technique that models deposit insurance as a put option on the bank's assets.

Laeven calculates gross safety net subsidies for a large sample of banks in 12 countries to assess the relationship between the risk-taking behavior of banks and certain bank characteristics. He finds that gross safety net subsidies are higher for banks that have concentrated ownership, that are affiliated with a business group, that are small, or that have high credit growth, and for banks in countries with low GDP per capita, high inflation, or poor quality and enforcement of the legal system. These findings suggest that the moral hazard behavior of a bank depends on its institutional environment and its corporate governance structure.

Laeven also presents a matrix that shows estimates of safety net subsidies for a range of given combinations of equity volatilities and equity-to-deposit ratios. These figures could be used as input to an early warning system for both individual and systemic banking problems.

This paper - a product of the Financial Sector Strategy and Policy Department - is part of a larger effort in the department to study the performance and risks of banks. The author may be contacted at

Suggested Citation

Laeven, Luc A., Banking Risks Around the World: The Implicit Safety Net Subsidy Approach (November 2000). Available at SSRN:

Luc A. Laeven (Contact Author)

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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