Safer ratios, riskier portfolios: Banks' response to government aid

Ran Duchin, Denis Sosyura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


Using novel data on bank applications to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), we study the effect of government assistance on bank risk taking. Bailed-out banks initiate riskier loans and shift assets toward riskier securities after receiving government support. However, this shift in risk occurs mostly within the same asset class and, therefore, remains undetected by regulatory capital ratios, which indicate improved capitalization at bailed-out banks. Consequently, these banks appear safer according to regulatory ratios, but show an increase in volatility and default risk. These findings are robust to controlling for credit demand and account for selection of TARP recipients by exploiting banks' geography-based political connections as an instrument for bailout approvals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Financial Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bailout
  • Banking
  • Financial crisis
  • Lending
  • Moral hazard
  • Risk
  • TARP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Safer ratios, riskier portfolios: Banks' response to government aid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this