May 2016

Bank Capital Pressures, Loan Substitutability, and Nonfinancial Employment

Seung Jung Lee and Viktors Stebunovs


We exploit the cross-state, cross-time variation in bank tangible capital ratios--brought about by bank branch deregulation on a state-by-state basis--to identify the effects of bank capital pressures on employment and firm dynamics during two waves of changes in bank capital regulation. We show that stronger capital pressures temporarily slowed down growth in employment in industries that depend on external finance, retarding growth in the average size of firms rather than in the number of firms. Such effects were particularly strong for smaller firms that may not have had access to national capital and bank loan markets. Our findings indicate that a tightening of capital requirements may have significant real effects, in part because of the lack of substitutes for bank loans.

Keywords: Bank capital ratios; bank capital regulation; loan substitutability; employment; firm dynamics.


PDF: Full Paper

Back to Top
Last Update: June 19, 2020