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A Model of Financial Fragility

  • Lagunoff, Roger
  • Schreft, Stacey L.

This paper presents a dynamic, stochastic game-theoretic model of financial fragility. The model has two essential features. First, interrelated portfolios and payment commitments forge financial linkages among agents. Second, iid shocks to investment projects’ operations at a single date cause some projects to fail. Investors who experience losses from project failures reallocate their portfolios, thereby breaking some linkages. In the Pareto-efficient symmetric equilibrium studied, two related types of financial crises can occur in response. One occurs gradually as defaults spread, causing even more links to break. An economy is more fragile ex post the more severe this financial crisis. The other type of crisis occurs instantaneously when forward-looking investors preemptively shift their wealth into a safe asset in anticipation of the contagion affecting them in the future. An economy is more fragile ex ante the earlier all of its linkages break from such a crisis. The paper also considers whether fragility is worse for larger economies.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 99 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (July)
Pages: 220-264

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:99:y:2001:i:1-2:p:220-264
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Cooper, R. & Corbae, D., 1997. "Financial Fragility and the Great Depression," Working Papers 97-08, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Interbank lending and systemic risk," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 733-765.
  3. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  4. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1998. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Levine's Working Paper Archive 114, David K. Levine.
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  6. Krasa, Stefan & Villamil, Anne P, 1992. "A Theory of Optimal Bank Size," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(4), pages 725-49, October.
  7. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & John Moore, 2004. "Credit Chains," ESE Discussion Papers 118, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  8. Hiroshi Fujiki & Edward J. Green & Akira Yamazaki, 1999. "Sharing the risk of settlement failure," Working Papers 594, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  10. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Optimal Financial Crises," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1245-1284, 08.
  11. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1990. "Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 3400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
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