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Counterparty risk externality: Centralized versus over-the-counter markets

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Author Info

  • Viral Acharya

    (NYU Stern)

  • Alberto Bisin

    (NYU Economics)

Abstract

The opacity of over-the-counter (OTC) markets, in which a large number of financial products including credit derivatives trade, appears to have played a central role in the nancial crisis in 2007-09. We model such opacity of OTC markets in a general equilibrium setup where agents share risks, but have incentives to default and their financial positions are not mutually observable. We show that in this setting, there is excess leverage, in that parties in OTC contracts take on short positions that lead to levels of default risk that are higher than Pareto-efficient ones. In particular, OTC markets feature a counterparty risk externality that we show can lead to ex-ante productive inefficiency. This externality is absent when trading is organized via a centralized clearing mechanism that provides transparency of trade positions, or a centralized counterparty (such as an exchange) that observes all trades and sets prices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 618.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:618

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  1. Gregory R. Duffee & Chunsheng Zhou, 1997. "Credit derivatives in banking: useful tools for managing risk?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. 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.
  3. Christine A. Parlour & Guillaume Plantin, 2008. "Loan Sales and Relationship Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1291-1314, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Castiglionesi, Fabio & Wagner, Wolf, 2013. "On the efficiency of bilateral interbank insurance," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 177-200.

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