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Bank panics and the endogeneity of central banking

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  • Gorton, Gary
  • Huang, Lixin

Abstract

Central banking is intimately related to liquidity provision to banks during times of crisis, the lender-of-last-resort function. This activity arose endogenously in certain banking systems. Depositors lack full information about the value of bank assets so that during macroeconomic downturns they monitor their banks by withdrawing in a banking panic. The likelihood of panics depends on the industrial organization of the banking system. Banking systems with many small, undiversified banks, are prone to panics and failures, unlike systems with a few big banks that are heavily branched and well diversified. Systems of many small banks are more efficient if the banks form coalitions during times of crisis. We provide conditions under which the industrial organization of banking leads to incentive compatible state contingent bank coalition formation. Such coalitions issue money that is a kind of deposit insurance and examine and supervise banks. Bank coalitions of small banks, however, cannot replicate the efficiency of a system of big banks.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 53 (2006)
Issue (Month): 7 (October)
Pages: 1613-1629

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:53:y:2006:i:7:p:1613-1629

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Gary Gorton & Lixin Huang, 2001. "Banking Prices and the Origin of Central Banking," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Charles W. Calomiris & Charles M. Kahn, 1996. "The efficiency of self-regulated payments systems: learning from the Suffolk System," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 766-803.
  3. Calomiris, Charles W., 1990. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary? A Historical Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 283-295, June.
  4. Gary Gorton & Lixin Huang, 2002. "Banking Panics and the Origin of Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 9137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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