Government support to banks through the provision of explicit or implicit guarantees affects the willingness of banks to take on risk by reducing market discipline or by increasing charter value. We use an international sample of rated banks and find that government support is associated with more risk taking by banks, especially prior and during the 2008-2009 financial
crisis. We also find that restricting banks’ range of activities ameliorates the link between government support and bank risk taking. We conclude that strengthening market discipline by reducing bank complexity is needed to address this moral hazard problem.
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Last update: August 29, 2013