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Banks' risk race: A signaling explanation


  • Besancenot, Damien
  • Vranceanu, Radu


Many observers argue that one of the major causes of the 2007-2009 recession was the abnormal accumulation of risk by banks. This paper provides a signaling explanation for this race for risk. If banks' returns can be observed while risk cannot, the less efficient banks can hide their type by taking more risks and paying the same returns as the more efficient banks. The latter can signal themselves by taking even higher risks and delivering bigger returns. The game presents several equilibria that are all characterized by excessive risk taking as compared to the perfect information case.

Suggested Citation

  • Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2011. "Banks' risk race: A signaling explanation," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 784-791, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:reveco:v:20:y:2011:i:4:p:784-791

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Besancenot, Damien & Huynh, Kim & Vranceanu, Radu, 2009. "Desk rejection in an academic publication market model with matching frictions," ESSEC Working Papers DR 09008, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
    2. Andrew Powell & Marcus Miller & Antonia Maier, 2011. "Prudent Banks and Creative Mimics: Can We Tell the Difference?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3958, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Gombola, Michael J. & Ho, Amy Yueh-Fang & Huang, Chin-Chuan, 2016. "The effect of leverage and liquidity on earnings and capital management: Evidence from U.S. commercial banks," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 35-58.
    4. Lu, Yunlin & Guo, Haifeng & Kao, Erin H. & Fung, Hung-Gay, 2015. "Shadow banking and firm financing in China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 40-53.
    5. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2014. "Experimental evidence on the ‘insidious’ illiquidity risk," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 315-323.

    More about this item


    Banking sector Risk strategy Signaling Imperfect information The Great Recession;

    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
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill


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