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Helping hand or grabbing hand?: Politicians, supervision regime, financial structure and market view

Donato Masciandaro () and Marc Quintyn

The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, 2008, vol. 19, issue 2, 153-173

Abstract: Almost all the literature on the evolution of the financial supervision architecture stresses the importance of financial market characteristics in determining the recent trend toward more unification. But in the real world it is not always clear to what extent market features matter. We present two complementary approaches to gain insights in the above relationship, focusing on the political cost and benefit analysis. First, a cross-country study tests two alternative theories--the helping hand and the grabbing hand view of government--to determine the impact of the market structure on the supervisory setting. Our evidence seems more consistent with the grabbing hand view, considering the degree of banking concentration a proxy of the capture risk and presuming the market demonstrates a preference for consolidation of supervisory powers. Second, the results of a survey among financial CEOs in Italy confirm a market preference for a more consolidated supervisory regime but reveal only weak consistency between the views of the policymakers and those of the market operators.

Date: 2008
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