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The Asymmetric Effect of Diffusion Processes: Risk Sharing and Contagion

Author

Listed:
  • Gallegati Mauro

    () (Università Politecnica delle Marche)

  • Greenwald Bruce

    () (Columbia University)

  • Richiardi Matteo G

    () (Università Politecnica delle Marche and Collegio Carlo Alberto - LABORatorio R. Revelli)

  • Stiglitz Joseph E.

    () (Columbia University)

Abstract

In this paper we provide a general characterization of diffusion processes, allowing us to analyze both risk-sharing and contagion effects at the same time.We illustrate the relevance of our theory with reference to the subprime mortgage crisis and more in general to the processes of securitization and interbank linkages. We show that interdependencies in real and financial assets are beneficial from a social point of view when the economic environment is favorable and detrimental when the economic environment deteriorates. In the latter case, private incentives are such that too many linkages are formed, with respect to what is socially desirable. The risk of contagion increases the volatility of the outcome and thus reduces the ability of the financial networks to provide risk-sharing.Our analysis suggests that a likely major explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis is the process of securitization itself, in addition to the absence of transparency about the characteristics of the underlying assets that the multiple layers of financial intermediation fostered, as commonly claimed.This may call for a different emphasis on the role of public intervention. While a goal to stabilize the economy in good times should be to disrupt the channels that bring contagion, that is a positive correlation in the returns, in a period of worsening economic conditions our analysis suggests regulatory intervention aimed at disconnecting the economy at crucial nodes. Moreover, we show that policy interventions should be aimed at rescuing institutions, but not their managers. Diminishing the cost of default actually increases the inefficiency due to the divergence between the social and the individual optimum.

Suggested Citation

  • Gallegati Mauro & Greenwald Bruce & Richiardi Matteo G & Stiglitz Joseph E., 2008. "The Asymmetric Effect of Diffusion Processes: Risk Sharing and Contagion," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 8(3), pages 1-22, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:glecon:v:8:y:2008:i:3:n:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nuno Silva, 2010. "Inter-Sector Relations in the Portuguese Economy: an Application of Contingent," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. Mayer-Foulkes David A, 2010. "Long-Term Fundamentals of the 2008 Economic Crisis," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 9(4), pages 1-25, January.
    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2013. "Stable Growth in an Era of Crises; Learning from Economic Theory and History," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-39, January.
    4. Roy, Saktinil & Kemme, David M., 2012. "Causes of banking crises: Deregulation, credit booms and asset bubbles, then and now," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 270-294.
    5. David Rooney & Tom Mandeville & Tim Kastelle, 2013. "Abstract Knowledge and Reified Financial Innovation: Building Wisdom and Ethics Into Financial Innovation Networks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 447-459, December.
    6. Giulio Cainelli & Sandro Montresor & Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti, 2012. "Production and financial linkages in inter-firm networks: structural variety, risk-sharing and resilience," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 711-734, September.
    7. Shoham Amir & Pelzman Joseph, 2011. "A Review of the Crises," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-19, July.
    8. Emiel F.M. Wubben (ed.), 2011. "Institutions and Regulation for Economic Growth?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14256.
    9. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "Towards a General Theory of Deep Downturns," NBER Working Papers 21444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Anna Maria Ferragina & Fernanda Mazzotta, 2014. "Agglomeration economies and global activities: impact on firm survival," ERSA conference papers ersa14p348, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Stiglitz Joseph E., 2010. "Contagion, Liberalization, and the Optimal Structure of Globalization," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-47, December.
    12. Joseph E Stiglitz & Mauro Gallegati, 2011. "Heterogeneous Interacting Agent Models for Understanding Monetary Economies," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 6-12.
    13. Frank A.G. den Butter, 2011. "The Macroeconomics of the Credit Crisis: In Search of Externalities for Macro Prudential Supervision," Chapters,in: Institutions and Regulation for Economic Growth?, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Anna Ferragina & Fernanda Mazzotta, 2015. "Agglomeration economies in Italy: impact on heterogeneous firms’ exit in a multilevel framework," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 395-440, December.
    15. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2011. "Rethinking Macroeconomics: What Failed, And How To Repair It," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 591-645, August.
    16. Joseph E Stiglitz, 2018. "Where modern macroeconomics went wrong," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1-2), pages 70-106.
    17. Highfill Jannett, 2008. "The Economic Crisis as of December 2008: The Global Economy Journal Weighs In," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 8(4), pages 1-7, December.
    18. Soete, Luc, 2009. "Malthus' Revenge," MERIT Working Papers 030, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    19. Naude, Wim, 2009. "The Global Economic Crisis after One Year: Is a New Paradigm for Recovery in Developing Countries Emerging?," WIDER Working Papers UNU-WIDER UNU Policy Brie, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    20. Naude Wim, 2011. "Global Finance after the Crisis: Reform Imperatives and Vested Interests," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-22, July.
    21. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2010. "Risk and Global Economic Architecture: Why Full Financial Integration May Be Undesirable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 388-392, May.

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    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation

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