Journal Article: 'Excess cash or excess headache? Demonetisation and bank behaviour in India' - Prof. Saumen Majumdar


Prof Saumen Majumdar


Authors’ Names: Saumen Majumdar, Swati Agarwal, Saibal Ghosh


Purpose:Sudden and unannounced policy changes by the government that provide banks with windfall deposits creates a challenge in terms of resource deployment. In the process, there is an impact on their risk and returns. Using data on domestic Indian commercial banks, this study aims to examine the impact of such an announcement – the 2016 demonetisation episode – on bank behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach:Using data on domestic Indian commercial banks during 2010–2020, the paper investigates the effect of a sudden and unannounced policy change on their risk and returns. Using the demonetisation undertaken in November 2016 as a natural experiment, the paper applies the difference-in-differences methodology to tease out the causal impact.

Findings:The findings reveal a decline in risk and an increase in returns of state-owned banks, consistent with a flight-to-safety. The response differed in terms of market and accounting measures and across state-owned banks with differing levels of capital and asset quality.

Originality/value:Although several aspects of the demonetisation episode have been well analysed, its impact on banks – the main conduits of the exercise – and in particular on their risk and returns, is an unaddressed area of research. Viewed from this standpoint, this is one of the early studies to undertake a comprehensive empirical analysis on this aspect.

Journal Name: Journal of Emerald Publishing Limited