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Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity


  • Douglas W. Diamond
  • Philip H. Dybvig


This article develops a model which shows that bank deposit contracts can provide allocations superior to those of exchange markets, offering an explanation of how banks subject to runs can attract deposits. Investors face privately observed risks which lead to a demand for liquidity. Traditional demand deposit contracts which provide liquidity have multiple equilibria, one of which is a bank run. Bank runs in the model cause real economic damage, rather than simply reflecting other problems. Contracts which can prevent runs are studied, and the analysis shows that there are circumstances when government provision of deposit insurance can produce superior contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2000:i:win:p:14-23:n:v.24no.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dybvig, Philip H. & Spatt, Chester S., 1983. "Adoption externalities as public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 231-247, March.
    2. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    4. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
    5. Merton, Robert C., 1977. "An analytic derivation of the cost of deposit insurance and loan guarantees An application of modern option pricing theory," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 3-11, June.
    6. Kareken, John H & Wallace, Neil, 1978. "Deposit Insurance and Bank Regulation: A Partial-Equilibrium Exposition," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 413-438, July.
    7. Azariadis, Costas, 1981. "Self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 380-396, December.
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    Deposit insurance ; Liquidity (Economics);


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