lunes, 23 de julio de 2012

¿Son los Banqueros Corruptos? Becker y Posner

Bueno, este es sin duda un tema viejo, pero ahora ha cobrado enorme relevancia debido a la cantidad de escándalos en el sector en los últimos años y meses.
Pero en esta ocasión quiero compartirles la opinión de Becker y Posner. Ellos comparten un Blog en el cual postean sólo una vez a la semana, los domingos. Seleccionan un tema y los dos escriben sobre el mismo tema. En esta ocasión comentan sobre la corrupción en el sistema bancario.
De manera general, ambos explican cómo funciona el sistema bancario y por qué existen serios problemas de incentivos, riesgo moral, etc.... algo que usualmente les explico a mis alumnos cuando tocamos estos temas. También señalan como la regulación excesiva provoca o induce mayor posibilidad de corrupción o posturas de alto riesgo. Posner es poco más crítico a la banca y Becker algo más complaciente.
The bank’s business model is thus a risky one. Its capital is short term and thus can disappear with little or no notice (a bank run), while its assets (its loans) are long term and may be illiquid and thus hard to sell should the bank need to replace some of its capital. Government deposit insurance can reduce the risk of runs and by thus making depositors’ capital more secure reduce the interest rate the bank has to pay them. Bank regulatory agencies can further reduce the risk of banks’ defaulting by requiring banks to hold cash or cash-equivalent reserves, such as Treasury bonds. But risk and return are positively correlated; by reducing risk, government intervention in the banking industry reduces expected return. This is true even at the depositor level: the interest rate that a depositor receives is reduced because the risk of his losing his money is reduced. And at the bank level, deposit insurance is a cost to the bank. The bank may therefore decide to augment its capital base by uninsured borrowing. It may also decide to offset the cost of its reserves (cash on which it receives no return), and amplify the spread between its cost of borrowed capital and its return on investment, by making riskier investments with its borrowed funds than mortgage loans, municipal and corporate bonds, Treasury notes, and other conventional bank investments: it may decide to speculate


Highly regulated industries tend to attract some business leaders who are willing to cut corners and try to avoid and evade regulations, and have the regulations changed if necessary, when these methods would greatly increase their incomes. Businessmen who fully conform their behavior to the regulations, and try not to influence the regulations, would have difficulty competing against these other types. Very extreme examples of the effects of extensive regulations are participants in industries that are illegal, including the sale of drugs like crack, or prostitution. These industries are dominated by violence and intimidation of regulators.
----Management of large amounts of money also induces the entry of some dishonest individuals not only as company leaders, but also at much lower levels, as with so-called rogue traders. These are lower-level individuals who invest unauthorized large amounts for the companies they work for, and where their incomes and employment depend on how well they do.

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