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The Architecture and Governance of Financial Supervision: Sources and Implications


  • The first author gratefully acknowledges the financial support of TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) under the TUBITAK-BIDEP fellowship.

Barry Eichengreen

University of California

Berkeley, CA



We compare the architecture and governance of financial supervision across countries. We find that countries where the supervisor is the central bank, or where it is independent of government, have more conservatively regulated financial systems. Nonperforming loans are lower in countries where the supervisor is independent, while capital ratios are higher where the central bank, rather than another agency of government, is the lead supervisor. At the same time, some measures of bank credit to the economy are significantly lower both where the supervisor is independent and where the lead supervisor is the central bank. Insofar as the same institutional arrangements that confer greater stability, such as higher capital ratios and lower nonperforming loans, also limit the provision of credit to the economy, countries face a tradeoff. That different countries have been moving in different directions in restructuring their supervisory arrangements should not be surprising insofar as they have different objectives for their financial sector.