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An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Taking Channel of Monetary Policy in Turkey

Ekin Ayse Ozsuca and Elif Akbostanci

The mechanism by which monetary policy affects financial institutions’ risk perception and/or tolerance has been called the ‘risk-taking channel’ of monetary policy. It has been recently argued that periods of low interest rates due to expansionary monetary policy, might induce an increase in bank risk-appetite and risk-taking behavior. This paper investigates the bank specific characteristics of risk-taking behavior of the Turkish banking sector as well as the existence of risk taking channel of monetary policy in Turkey. Using bank level quarterly data over the period 2002-2012 a dynamic panel model is estimated. Our sample accounts for 53 banks that have been active in Turkey during the period. To deal with the potential endogeneity between risk and bank specific characteristics, which are explanatory variables in our model, the GMM estimator proposed by Arellano and Bover (1995) and Blundell and Bond (1998) is used. Four alternative risk measures are used in the analysis; three accounting-based risk indicators and a market-based indicator- Expected Default Frequency. We find evidence that low levels of interest rates have a positive impact on banks’ risk-taking behavior for all the risk measures. Specifically, low short term interest rates reduce the risk of outstanding loans; however short term interest rates below a theoretical benchmark increase risk-taking of banks. This result holds for macroeconomic controls as well. Furthermore, in terms of bank specific characteristics, our analysis suggests that large, liquid and well-capitalized banks are less prone to risk-taking.

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