Too Big to Fail: Measures, Remedies, and Consequences for Efficiency and Stability

75 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016

See all articles by James R. Barth

James R. Barth

Auburn University; Milken Institute

Clas Wihlborg

Chapman University; University West

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 20, 2016


This paper evaluates whether reform efforts addressing “too big to fail” actually enhance the stability of the financial system, and whether trade-offs exist between stability and efficiency. We also present and discuss various measures of bank size and complexity since such measures are essential for implementing appropriate corrective remedies. As we will show, there are no unambiguous measures of size or complexity that can fully capture a bank’s contribution to systemic risk. Their effects on efficiency are also impossible to capture with certainty. While we recognize the need for additional research and empirical evidence, we do identify weaknesses and strengths of proposed and implemented reforms that could have consequences for bank stability and efficiency.

JEL Classification: G20, G21, G28

Suggested Citation

Barth, James R. and Wihlborg, Clas, Too Big to Fail: Measures, Remedies, and Consequences for Efficiency and Stability (September 20, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

James R. Barth (Contact Author)

Auburn University ( email )

415 West Magnolia Avenue
Auburn, AL 36849
United States
334-844-2469 (Phone)
334-844-4960 (Fax)

Milken Institute ( email )

1250 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
United States

Clas Wihlborg

Chapman University ( email )

333 N. Glassell
Orange, CA 92866
United States
+17147447630 (Phone)

University West ( email )

Trollhättan, 46186

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics