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Financial Innovation and Financial Fragility

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Author Info

  • Nicola Gennaioli

    (UPF and CREI)

  • Andrei Shleifer

    (Harvard University)

  • Robert Vishny

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

We present a standard model of financial innovation, in which intermediaries engineer securities with cash flows that investors seek, but modify two assumptions. First, investors (and possibly intermediaries) neglect certain unlikely risks. Second, investors demand securities with safe cash flows. Financial intermediaries cater to these preferences and beliefs by engineering securities perceived to be safe but exposed to neglected risks. Because the risks are neglected, security issuance is excessive. As investors eventually recognize these risks, they fly back to safety of traditional securities and markets become fragile, even without leverage, precisely because the volume of new claims is excessive. Financial innovation can make both investors and intermediaries worse off. The model mimics several facts from recent historical experiences, and points to new avenues for financial reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.114.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.114

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Keywords: Financial Innovation; Financial Fragility; Securities; Risks;

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  1. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "What Comes to Mind," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1399-1433, November.
  2. Zoltan Pozsar & Tobias Adrian & Adam Ashcraft & Hayley Boesky, 2010. "Shadow banking," Staff Reports 458, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  4. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2008. "Collective Risk Management in a Flight to Quality Episode," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(5), pages 2195-2230, October.
  5. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L. & Rustichini, Aldo, 1998. "Recent developments in modeling unforeseen contingencies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 523-542, May.
  6. Douglas W Diamond, 2010. "Fear of fire sales and the credit freeze," BIS Working Papers 305, Bank for International Settlements.
  7. Robin Greenwood & Samuel Hanson & Jeremy C. Stein, 2008. "A Gap-Filling Theory of Corporate Debt Maturity Choice," NBER Working Papers 14087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  9. Marcin Kacperczyk & Philipp Schnabl, 2009. "When Safe Proved Risky: Commercial Paper During the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009," NBER Working Papers 15538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Raghuram G. Rajan, 2006. "Has Finance Made the World Riskier?," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 12(4), pages 499-533.
  11. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  12. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496, November.
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