Counterparty risk externality: Centralized versus over-the-counter markets
AbstractThe 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 InfoPaper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 618.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Other versions of this item:
- Viral V. Acharya & Alberto Bisin, 2011. "Counterparty Risk Externality: Centralized Versus Over-the-counter Markets," NBER Working Papers 17000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
- D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
- G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
- G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
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