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Björn Richter

27 June 2022
This paper studies the long-run evolution of bank risk and its links to the macroeconomy. Using data for 17 advanced economies, we show that the riskiness of bank assets declined materially between 1870 and 2016. But even though bank assets have become safer, the losses on these assets are associated with increasingly large output gaps. Before 1945, bank asset returns had no excess predictive power for future economic activity, while after 1945 they have outperformed non-financials as a predictor of GDP. We provide evidence linking this increasing connectedness between banks and the macroeconomy to secular increases in financial and macroeconomic leverage.
JEL Code
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
N20 : Economic History→Financial Markets and Institutions→General, International, or Comparative
O16 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Development→Financial Markets, Saving and Capital Investment, Corporate Finance and Governance
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme