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Deposit Insurance: Theories and Facts

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  • Charles W. Calomiris

    () (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027
    National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

  • Matthew Jaremski

    () (National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
    Department of Economics, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York 13346)

Abstract

Economic theories posit that bank liability insurance is designed to serve the public interest by mitigating systemic risk in the banking system through the reduction of liquidity risk. Political theories, however, see liability insurance as serving the private interests of banks, bank borrowers, and depositors, potentially at the expense of the public interest. Empirical evidence—both historical and contemporary—supports the private-interest approach, as liability insurance has been associated with increases, rather than decreases, in systemic risk. Exceptions to this rule are rare and reflect design features that prevent moral hazard and adverse selection. Prudential regulation of insured banks has generally not been a very effective tool in limiting the systemic risk increases associated with liability insurance. This likely reflects purposeful failures in regulation; if liability insurance is motivated by private interests, then there would be little point to removing the subsidies it creates through strict regulation. The same logic explains why more effective policies for addressing systemic risk are not employed in place of liability insurance. The politics of liability insurance thus should not be narrowly construed to encompass only the vested interests of bankers. Indeed, in many countries, liability insurance has been installed as a pass-through subsidy targeted to particular classes of bank borrowers.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles W. Calomiris & Matthew Jaremski, 2016. "Deposit Insurance: Theories and Facts," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 97-120, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:refeco:v:8:y:2016:p:97-120
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    Cited by:

    1. Carmassi, Jacopo & Dobkowitz, Sonja & Evrard, Johanne & Parisi, Laura & Silva, André & Wedow, Michael, 2018. "Completing the Banking Union with a European Deposit Insurance Scheme: who is afraid of cross-subsidisation?," Occasional Paper Series 208, European Central Bank.
    2. Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune & Yankov, Vladimir, 2016. "Limited deposit insurance coverage and bank competition," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 95-108.
    3. Calomiris, Charles W. & Flandreau, Marc & Laeven, Luc, 2016. "Political foundations of the lender of last resort: A global historical narrative," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 48-65.
    4. Gersbach, Hans & Haller, Hans & Volker, Britz, 2017. "Deposit Insurance and Reinsurance: A General Equilibrium Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 11947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    market discipline; political economy; mortgage lending;

    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
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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