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Dimensions of Credit Risk and Their Relationship to Economic Capital Requirements

by Mark Carey of the Federal Reserve Board

March 15, 2000

Abstract: Now in prospect is a major revision of international bank capital regulations that would embody recent advances in credit risk measurement and management. Previous regulations have been simpler in structure, with a primary goal of getting capital requirements right on average, and thus have largely ignored the difference between average and marginal. This paper presents evidence that explicit treatment in new regulations of several important dimensions of credit risk is necessary to limit banks' incentives to engage in capital arbitrage activities. Such activities, if unchecked, may lead to an increase in bank failure rates over time.

JEL Classification: G11, G28, G10, G20.

Keywords: risk management, credit risk, bank regulation, capital requirements.

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