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Bank Runs: An Experimental Study


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  • Garratt, Rod


We use experimental methods to investigate the extent to which breakdowns in coordination can lead to bank runs. Subjects decide whether to leave money deposited in a bank or withdraw it early; a run occurs when there are too many early withdrawals. We explore the effects of randomly forcing some subjects to withdraw early and varying the number of opportunities subjects have to withdraw. Bank runs occur frequently with forced withdrawals, even if these withdrawals are unlikely to cause the bank to fail. Exposure to bank runs has a much larger effect on future withdrawal behavior when there are multiple withdrawal opportunities than with a single opportunity. We also evaluate individual withdrawal decisions according to simple cutoff rules. We find that the cutoff rule corresponding to the payoff-dominant equilibrium of the game, which involves Bayesian updating of probabilities, explains subject behavior better than other rules.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt1rk2w7m4.

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Date of creation: 03 Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt1rk2w7m4

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Related research

Keywords: bank run; coordination game; Bayesian updating; experimental;


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Cited by:
  1. John Duffy, 2008. "Macroeconomics: A Survey of Laboratory Research," Working Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics 334, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
  2. Schotter, Andrew & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2009. "On the dynamics and severity of bank runs: An experimental study," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 217-241, April.
  3. John Duffy & Dean Corbae, 2006. "Experiments with Network Formation," Working Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics 292, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2007.


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