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Monetary Policy, Leverage, And Bank Risk- Taking

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Executive Summary

The authors provide a theoretical foundation for the claim that prolonged periods of easy monetary conditions increase bank risk taking. The net effect of a monetary policy change on bank monitoring (an inverse measure of risk taking) depends on the balance of three forces: interest rate pass-through, risk shifting, and leverage. When banks can adjust their capital structures, a monetary easing leads to greater leverage and lower monitoring. However, if a bank's capital structure is fixed, the balance depends on the degree of bank capitalization: when facing a policy rate cut, well capitalized banks decrease monitoring, while highly levered banks increase it.

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