Basel II and the Political Economy of Banking

M. E. Sharpe
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Political Economy, 2008, 37 (2), pp. 82 - 106
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In January 2008, institutions across the G-lO countries responsible for regulating banks within their jurisdictions implemented the new Basel Capital Accord, now commonly known as Basel II. This new standard for bank regulation replaces the first Basel Accord adopted in 1988 and introduces several innovations designed to improve the effectiveness of bank regulation and to reduce the likelihood of large bank collapses and the associated possibility of financial instability. Such a new policy framework has important implications for welfare and interest rate policy. A framework that successfully reduces the occurrence of financial crises is also likely to reduce the number of damaging episodes of economic downturn (such as that recently observed in the United States as a result of the subprime crisis) 'and the frequency with which monetary policy needs to be called upon to repair the damage of such downturns. Because interest rates affect the distribution of income, these changes also have potential political economy implications.
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