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Reforming LIBOR and Other Financial Market Benchmarks

Author

Listed:
  • Darrell Duffie
  • Jeremy C. Stein

Abstract

LIBOR is the London Interbank Offered Rate: a measure of the interest rate at which large banks can borrow from one another on an unsecured basis. LIBOR is often used as a benchmark rate—meaning that the interest rates that consumers and businesses pay on trillions of dollars in loans adjust up and down contractually based on movements in LIBOR. Investors also rely on the difference between LIBOR and various risk-free interest rates as a gauge of stress in the banking system. Benchmarks such as LIBOR therefore play a central role in modern financial markets. Thus, news reports in 2008 revealing widespread manipulation of LIBOR threatened the integrity of this benchmark and lowered trust in financial markets. We begin with a discussion of the economic role of benchmarks in reducing market frictions. We explain how manipulation occurs in practice, and illustrate how benchmark definitions and fixing methods can mitigate manipulation. We then turn to an overall policy approach for reducing the susceptibility of LIBOR to manipulation before focusing on the practical problem of how to make an orderly transition to alternative reference rates without raising undue legal risks.

Suggested Citation

  • Darrell Duffie & Jeremy C. Stein, 2015. "Reforming LIBOR and Other Financial Market Benchmarks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 191-212, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:29:y:2015:i:2:p:191-212
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.29.2.191
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.29.2.191
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/ds/2902/29020191_ds.zip
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Darrell Duffie & David R. Skeie & James Vickery, 2013. "A sampling-window approach to transactions-based Libor fixing," Staff Reports 596, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Eclipsing LIBOR
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2017-09-04 17:29:38

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nuria Boot & Timo Klein & Maarten Pieter Schinkel, 2017. "Collusive Benchmark Rates Fixing," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1715, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Aneta Hryckiewicz & Piotr Mielus & Karolina Skorulska & Malgorzata Snarska, 2018. "Does a bank levy increase frictions on the interbank market?," Working Papers 2018-033, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis.
    3. repec:eee:intfin:v:54:y:2018:i:c:p:78-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stenfors, Alexis, 2018. "Bid-ask spread determination in the FX swap market: Competition, collusion or a convention?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 78-97.
    5. Nils Herger, 2017. "Testing the interest parity condition with Irving Fisher's example of Indian rupee and sterling bonds in the London financial market (1869 - 1906)," Working Papers 17.04, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
    6. Nuria Boot & Timo Klein & Maarten Pieter Schinkel, 2017. "Collusive Benchmark Rates Fixing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-122/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 01 May 2018.
    7. Piotr Mielus, 2016. "Dylematy reformy indeksów rynku finansowego," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 4, pages 91-114.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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