Safer Rations, Riskier Portfolios: Banks’ responses to Government Aid

R. Duchin, D. Sosyura

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Abstract: We study the effect of government assistance on bank risk taking. Using hand-collected data on bank applications for government investment funds, we investigate the effect of both application approvals and denials. To distinguish banks’ risk taking behavior from changes in economic conditions, we control for the volume and quality of credit demand based on micro-level data on home mortgages and corporate loans. Our difference-indifference analysis indicates that banks make riskier loans and shift investment portfolios toward riskier securities after being approved for government assistance. However, this shift in risk occurs mostly within the same asset class and, therefore, remains undetected by the closely-monitored capitalization levels, which indicate an improved capital position at approved banks. Consequently, these banks appear safer according to regulatory ratios, but show a significant increase in measures of volatility and default risk.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameEBC Discussion Paper


  • bailout
  • TARP
  • risk
  • lending
  • financial crisis
  • moral hazard


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