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Bank Bailouts and Moral Hazard: Evidence from Germany

We use a structural econometric model to provide empirical evidence that safety nets in the banking industry lead to additional risk taking. To identify the moral hazard effect of bailout expectations on bank risk, we exploit the fact that regional political factors explain bank bailouts but not bank risk. The sample includes all observed capital preservation measures and distressed exits in the German banking industry during 1995–2006. A change of bailout expectations by two standard deviations increases the probability of official distress from 6.6% to 9.4%, which is economically significant.

01. August 2012

Authors Lammertjan Dam Michael Koetter

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