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Optimal Financial Crises

  • Franklin Allen

    (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,)

  • Douglas Gale

    (Department of Economics at New York University)

Empirical evidence suggests that banking panics are related to the business cycle and are not simply the result of "sunspots." Panics occur when depositors perceive that the returns on bank assets are going to be unusually low. We develop a simple model of this. In this setting, bank runs can be first-best efficient: they allow efficient risk sharing between early and late withdrawing depositors and they allow banks to hold efficient portfolios. However, if costly runs or markets for risky assets are introduced, central bank intervention of the right kind can lead to a Pareto improvement in welfare. Copyright The American Finance Association 1998.

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Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal The Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 53 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (08)
Pages: 1245-1284

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:53:y:1998:i:4:p:1245-1284
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  1. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  2. Postlewaite, Andrew & Vives, Xavier, 1987. "Bank Runs as an Equilibrium Phenomenon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 485-91, June.
  3. Bryant, John, 1980. "A model of reserves, bank runs, and deposit insurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-344, December.
  4. Gary Gorton, 1986. "Banking panics and business cycles," Working Papers 86-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  7. Waldo, Douglas G., 1985. "Bank runs, the deposit-currency ratio and the interest rate," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 269-277, May.
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