Deposit Insurance and Bank Intermediation in the Long Run

BIS Working Papers No 156
July 2004
This paper provides empirical evidence on the impact of deposit insurance on the growth of bank intermediation in the long run. We use a unique dataset capturing a variety of deposit insurance features across countries, such as coverage, premium structure, etc. and synthesize available information by means of principal component indices. This paper specifically addresses sample selection and endogeneity concerns by estimating a generalized Tobit model both via maximum likelihood and the Heckman 2-step method. The empirical construct is guided by recent theories of banking regulation that employ an agency framework. The basic moral hazard problem is the incentive for depository institutions to engage in excessively high-risk activities, relative to socially optimal outcomes, in order to increase the option value of their deposit insurance guarantee. The overall empirical evidence is consistent with the likelihood that generous government-funded deposit insurance might have a negative impact on the long-run growth and stability of bank intermediation, except in countries where the rule of law is well established and bank supervisors are granted sufficient discretion and independence from legal reprisals. Insurance premium requirements on member banks, even when risk-adjusted, are instead found to have little effect in restraining banks' risk-taking behavior.

Keywords: Deposit Insurance, Moral Hazard, Bank Regulation and Supervision, Financial Development.

JEL codes: G2, O1, F3.