We study the impact of higher capital requirements on banks’ balance sheets and its transmission to the real economy. The 2011 EBA capital exercise is an almost ideal quasi-natural experiment to identify this impact with a difference-in-differences matching estimator. We find that treated banks increase their capital ratios by reducing their risk-weighted assets and - consistent with debt overhang - not by raising their levels of equity. Banks reduce lending to corporate and retail customers, resulting in lower asset-, investment- and sales growth for firms obtaining a larger share of their bank credit from the treated banks.
SAFE Working Paper No. 156