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Off-balance-sheet activity under adverse selection: The European experience

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  • Duran, Miguel A.
  • Lozano-Vivas, Ana

Abstract

In the crisis that started in 2007, banks’ off-balance sheet activity has been blamed for flooding the market with low-quality assets and contributing to spreading risk throughout the economic system. Nevertheless, this view is hardly sustainable within the context of sophisticated markets. This paper puts forward an alternative interpretation of the off-balance sheet market, the so-called adverse selection hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, an adverse selection problem characterizes the relation between banks and their counterparties in off-balance sheet deals. Empirically, this implies that off-balance sheet activity is expected to be negatively related to failure risk, whereas it is expected to be positively related to the quality of the assets used for off-balance sheet operations. We test the adverse selection hypothesis for a sample of banks in the 27 member countries of the European Union during the pre-crisis period 1996–2006 and the crisis period 2007–2009. In addition, we check for possible differences between banks in the first 15 members of the European Union and those in the 12 new members.

Suggested Citation

  • Duran, Miguel A. & Lozano-Vivas, Ana, 2013. "Off-balance-sheet activity under adverse selection: The European experience," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 176-190.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:85:y:2013:i:c:p:176-190
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.04.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Adverse selection; Bank risk; Financial crisis; Off-balance sheet;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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