Banking systems are important not only for countries' finances but also to help spur economic growth. This volume presents and discusses a new database on bank regulation in more than 150 countries. It offers the first comprehensive cross-country assessment of the impact of bank regulation on the operation of banks and assesses the validity of the Basel Committee's influential approach to bank regulation. Also provided is an empirical evaluation of the historic debate about the proper role of government in the economy by studying bank regulation and analyzing the role of politics in determining regulatory approaches to banking. A key finding is that societies that emphasize market-based monitoring of banks enjoy superior outcomes along a range of criteria. Viewing the reform of bank regulation and supervision as a narrow technical issue is risky because the impact of bank regulation reflects host countries' complex economic and political institutions. In contrast to this, the approach of the Basel Committee, which appears to arise from a technical view of regulation, emphasizes capital and official supervision, without any empirical support. The data also indicate that restrictions on the entry of new banks, government ownership of banks, and restrictions on bank activities adversely affect banking system performance. The authors further find that domestic political factors shape both regulations and their effectiveness, thereby questioning the role of international standards in improving the functioning and stability of financial systems.
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