The determinants of bank capital ratios in a developing economy

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Journal Article

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Interim status: Citation only.

Ahmad, R., Ariff, M., & Skully, M. J. (2008). The determinants of bank capital ratios in a developing economy. Asia-Pacific financial markets, 15(3-4), 255-272.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1502

© Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC., 2009


This paper reports new findings on the determinants of bank capital ratios. The results are from an unbalanced panel data set spanning eight years around the period of the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis. Test results suggest a strong positive link between regulatory capital and bank management’s risk-taking behaviour. The risk-based capital standards of the regulators did not have an influence on how regulatory capital is adjusted by low-capitalized banks, perhaps due to the well-documented banking fragility during the test period. Finally, bank capital decisions seem not to be driven by bank profitability, which finding is inconsistent with developed country literature that has for long stressed the importance of banks’ earnings as driving capital ratios. Although the study focuses only on one developing economy, these findings may help to identify the correlates of bank capital ratios in both developed and developing economies since this topic has received scant attention of researchers. These findings are somewhat consistent with how banks engaging in risky lending across the world could have brought on the 2007–2008 banking liquidity and capital erosion crisis.

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This document has been peer reviewed.