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Complexity and Financial Panics

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Alp Simsek

Abstract

During extreme financial crises, all of a sudden, the financial world that was once rife with profit opportunities for financial institutions (banks, for short) becomes exceedingly complex. Confusion and uncertainty follow, ravaging financial markets and triggering massive flight-to-quality episodes. In this paper we propose a model of this phenomenon. In our model, banks normally collect information about their trading partners which assures them of the soundness of these relationships. However, when acute financial distress emerges in parts of the financial network, it is not enough to be informed about these partners, as it also becomes important to learn about the health of their trading partners. As conditions continue to deteriorate, banks must learn about the health of the trading partners of the trading partners of the trading partners, and so on. At some point, the cost of information gathering becomes too unmanageable for banks, uncertainty spikes, and they have no option but to withdraw from loan commitments and illiquid positions. A flight-to-quality ensues, and the financial crisis spreads.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14997.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14997

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  1. Rodrigo Cifuentes & Hyun Song Shin & Gianluigi Ferrucci, 2005. "Liquidity Risk and Contagion," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 556-566, 04/05.
  2. Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2000. "Model Uncertainty and Liquidity," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1617, Econometric Society.
  3. Roger Lagunoff & Stacey L. Schreft, 1998. "A Model of Financial Fragility," Game Theory and Information 9803001, EconWPA, revised 30 Apr 1998.
  4. Xavier Freixas & Bruno Parigi & Jean Charles Rochet, 1998. "Systemic risk, interbank relations and liquidity provision by the Central Bank," Economics Working Papers 440, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 1999.
  5. Yaron Leitner, 2005. "Financial Networks: Contagion, Commitment, and Private Sector Bailouts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2925-2953, December.
  6. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 1996. "Interbank Lending and Systemic Risk," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 733-62, November.
  9. Larry Eisenberg & Thomas H. Noe, 2001. "Systemic Risk in Financial Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(2), pages 236-249, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Kartik Anand & Prasanna Gai & Matteo Marsili, 2011. "Rollover risk, network structure and systemic financial crises," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-052, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Jeong-Bon Kim & Li Li & Mary L. Z. Ma & Frank M. Song, 2013. "CEO Option Compensation, Risk-Taking Incentives, and Systemic Risk in the Banking Industry," Working Papers 182013, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  3. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2010. "Macroeconomics after the Crisis: Time to Deal with the Pretense-of-Knowledge Syndrome," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 85-102, Fall.
  4. Acharya, Viral & Bisin, Alberto, 2014. "Counterparty risk externality: Centralized versus over-the-counter markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 153-182.
  5. Roger Koppl & William Luther, 2012. "Hayek, Keynes, and modern macroeconomics," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 223-241, September.
  6. Kaushik Basu, 2009. "A Simple Model of the Financial Crisis of 2007-9 with Implications for the Design of a Stimulus Package," Working Papers id:2179, eSocialSciences.
  7. Helmut Wagner, 2010. "The causes of the recent financial crisis and the role of central banks in avoiding the next one," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 63-82, May.
  8. Pol, Eduardo, 2012. "The preponderant causes of the USA banking crisis 2007–08," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 519-528.
  9. Cizkowicz, Piotr & Rzonca, Andrzej, 2011. "Interest rates close to zero, post-crisis restructuring and natural interest rate," MPRA Paper 36989, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Kartik Anand & Prasanna Gai & Matteo Marsili, 2009. "Financial crises and the evaporation of trust," Papers 0911.3099, arXiv.org.
  11. Upper, Christian, 2011. "Simulation methods to assess the danger of contagion in interbank markets," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 111-125, August.
  12. Bhaskar DasGupta & Lakshmi Kaligounder, 2014. "Densely Entangled Financial Systems," Papers 1402.5208, arXiv.org.

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