The Role of Bank Capital in the Propagation of Shocks
Recent events in financial markets have underlined the importance of analyzing the link between the financial health of banks and real economic activity. This paper contributes to this analysis by constructing a dynamic general equilibrium model in which the balance sheet of banks affects the propagation of shocks. We use the model to conduct quantitative experiments on the economy's response to technology and monetary policy shocks, as well as to disturbances originating within the banking sector, which we interpret as episodes of distress in financial markets. We show that, following adverse shocks, economies whose banking sectors remain well-capitalized experience smaller reductions in bank lending and less pronounced downturns. Bank capital thus increases an economy's ability to absorb shocks and, in doing so, affects the conduct of monetary policy. The model is also used to shed light on the ongoing debate over bank capital regulation.