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Risk-sharing or risk-taking? Counterparty risk, incentives and margins

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  • Biais, Bruno
  • Heider, Florian
  • Hoerova, Marie

Abstract

We analyze optimal hedging contracts and show that although hedging aims at sharing risk, it can lead to more risk-taking. News implying that a hedge is likely to be loss-making undermines the risk-prevention incentives of the protection seller. This incentive problem limits the capacity to share risks and generates endogenous counterparty risk. Optimal hedging can therefore lead to contagion from news about insured risks to the balance sheet of insurers. Such endogenous risk is more likely to materialize ex post when the ex ante probability of counterparty default is low. Variation margins emerge as an optimal mechanism to enhance risk-sharing capacity. Paradoxically, they can also induce more risk-taking. Initial margins address the market failure caused by unregulated trading of hedging contracts among protection sellers. JEL Classification: G21, G22, D82

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1413.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121413

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Related research

Keywords: Counterparty risk; derivatives; Insurance; margin requirements; Moral Hazard;

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References

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  1. Christine A. Parlour & Guillaume Plantin, 2008. "Loan Sales and Relationship Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1291-1314, 06.
  2. Andrew Ellul & Vijay Yerramilli, 2010. "Stronger Risk Controls, Lower Risk: Evidence from U.S. Bank Holding Companies," FMG Discussion Papers dp646, Financial Markets Group.
  3. Stephens, Eric & Thompson, James, 2011. "CDS as Insurance: Leaky Lifeboats in Stormy Seas," Working Papers 2011-9, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  4. Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, 08.
  5. James R. Thompson, 2010. "Counterparty Risk in Financial Contracts: Should the Insured Worry about the Insurer?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1195-1252, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Rosenthal, Dale W.R., 2009. "Market structure, counterparty risk, and systemic risk," MPRA Paper 36786, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Dec 2011.
  2. Dimitri Vayanos & Jiang Wang, 2012. "Market Liquidity - Theory and Empirical Evidence," FMG Discussion Papers dp709, Financial Markets Group.

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