Economists at the Federal Reserve contest the idea that annual stress tests have become more severe over time, arguing the higher level of capital depletion reported by participating banks in recent iterations is not driven by a toughening up of the scenarios used.

The staffers show that the total decline to the Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio posted by a sample of banks that took part in the 2018 round of the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review was 6.1%, the largest to date. However,