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Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking

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  • Douglas W. Diamond
  • Raghuram G. Rajan

Abstract

Both investors and borrowers are concerned about liquidity. Investors desire liquidity because they are uncertain about when they will want to eliminate their holding of a financial asset. Borrowers are concerned about liquidity because they are uncertain about their ability to continue to attract or retain funding. Because borrowers typically cannot repay investors on demand, investors will require a premium or significant control rights when they lend to borrowers directly, as compensation for the illiquidity investors will be subject to. We argue that banks can resolve these liquidity problems that arise in direct lending. Banks enable depositors to withdraw at low cost, as well as buffer firms from the liquidity needs of their investors. We show the bank has to have a fragile capital structure, subject to bank runs, in order to perform these functions. Far from being an aberration to be regulated away, the funding of illiquid loans by a bank with volatile demand deposits is rationalized in the context of the functions it performs. This model can be used to investigate important issues such as narrow banking and bank capital requirements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7430.

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Date of creation: Dec 1999
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Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 109, no. 2 (April 2001): 287-327
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7430

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  1. Jacklin, Charles J & Bhattacharya, Sudipto, 1988. "Distinguishing Panics and Information-Based Bank Runs: Welfare and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 568-92, June.
  2. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, . "Banks, Short Term Debt and Financial Crises: Theory, Policy Implications and Applications."," CRSP working papers 518, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  3. Greenbaum, Stuart I. & Kanatas, George & Venezia, Itzhak, 1989. "Equilibrium loan pricing under the bank-client relationship," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 221-235, May.
  4. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1999. "A Theory of Bank Capital," NBER Working Papers 7431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Anil Kashyap & Raghuram Rajan & Jeremy S. Stein, 1998. "Banks as liquidity providers: an explanation for the co-existence of lending and deposit-taking," Proceedings 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Holmstrom, B & Tirole, J, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Working papers 96-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Qi, Jianping, 1998. "Deposit Liquidity and Bank Monitoring," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 198-218, April.
  8. Stewart C. Myers & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1998. "The Paradox of Liquidity," CRSP working papers 339, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  9. Steven A. Sharpe, 1989. "Asymmetric information, bank lending, and implicit contracts: a stylized model of customer relationships," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  11. Rajan, Raghuram G, 1992. " Insiders and Outsiders: The Choice between Informed and Arm's-Length Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1367-400, September.
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  14. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Optimal Debt Structure and the Number of Creditors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 1-25, February.
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  16. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
  17. Douglas W. Diamond, . "Liquidity, Banks and Markets," CRSP working papers 326, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  18. Flannery, Mark J, 1994. "Debt Maturity and the Deadweight Cost of Leverage: Optimally Financing Banking Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 320-31, March.
  19. 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.
  20. Bryant, John, 1980. "A model of reserves, bank runs, and deposit insurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-344, December.
  21. Erik Berglof & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 1994. "Capital Structure with Multiple Investors," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0044, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
  22. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  23. Gorton, Gary & Pennacchi, George, 1990. " Financial Intermediaries and Liquidity Creation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 49-71, March.
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  1. Reflections on a Year of Crisis
    by Barry Ritholtz in the big picture on 2009-08-21 14:30:12
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