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Bank Capital Ratios Across Countries: Why Do They Vary?

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Document pages: 43 pages

Abstract: This paper extends the literature on bank capital structure by modeling capital structure as a function of important public policy and bank regulatory characteristics of the home country, as well as of bank specific variables, country macro-economic conditions and country level financial characteristics. The model is estimated with annual data for an unbalanced panel of the 78 largest private banks in the world headquartered in 12 industrial countries over the period between 1992 and 2005. The results indicate that bank capital ratios are significantly affected in the hypothesized directions by most of the bank-specific variables. Several of the country characteristic and policy variables are also significant with the predicted sign: banks maintain higher capital ratios in home countries in which the bank sector is relatively smaller and in countries that practice prompt corrective actions more actively, have more stringent capital requirements, and have more effective corporate governance structures.

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