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On the Theory of Economic Regulation in the Banking Sector
M.Sc. Marie Elisabeth Alert
The banking sector is one of the most intensively regulated sectors. Rules continuously increase in both number and complexity, generating ever-higher fixed costs for banks. This means that small banks are more heavily affected, increasingly pressurizing them to consolidate, while large banks fare relatively better. Although the high intensity of state intervention is basically justified by the existence of market failures it should also hold true that regulators aim to and have the capabilities to induce a dominant allocation compared to the market outcome - an assumption which might be just too optimistic. Instead, regulators might be captured by the industry, in especially by large banks that do have the capacities to lobby successfully, and may have an interest in seeking more regulatory pressure by themselves even, based on the grounds that they may benefit from economies of scale in supervision. By acknowledging the fact that regulators might not always be benevolent, this thesis builds upon the Economic Theory of Regulation, critically scrutinizing bank regulation instead of taking it for granted. In doing so, it aims at identifying regulatory effects on both banks' (fixed) costs and the consolidation process to eventually derive recommended policy actions.

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