Did fair-value accounting contribute to the financial crisis?
AbstractThe recent financial crisis has led to a major debate about fair-value accounting. Many critics have argued that fair-value accounting, often also called mark-to-market accounting, has significantly contributed to the financial crisis or, at least, exacerbated its severity. In this paper, we assess these arguments and examine the role of fair-value accounting in the financial crisis using descriptive data and empirical evidence. Based on our analysis, it is unlikely that fair-value accounting added to the severity of the current financial crisis in a major way. While there may have been downward spirals or asset-fire sales in certain markets, we find little evidence that these effects are the result of fair-value accounting. We also find little support for claims that fair-value accounting leads to excessive write-downs of banks' assets. If anything, empirical evidence to date points in the opposite direction, that is, towards overvaluation of bank assets. --
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2009/22.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
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Mark-to-Market Accounting; Financial Institutions; Liquidity; Financial Crisis; Banks; Financial Regulation; Procyclicality; Contagion;
Other versions of this item:
- Christian Laux & Christian Leuz, 2010. "Did Fair-Value Accounting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 93-118, Winter.
- Christian Laux & Christian Leuz, 2009. "Did Fair-Value Accounting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?," NBER Working Papers 15515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
- G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
- G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
- K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
- M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Accounting - - - Accounting
- M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Accounting - - - Auditing
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