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Systemic risks and the 'too-big-to-fail' problem'

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  • Alan D. Morrison

Abstract

The financial crisis of 2007--9 resulted in state intervention in financial markets around the world, and the state became a major shareholder in many banks. While state bailouts were politically sensitive, policy-makers had little alternative but to supply funds to financial institutions that were viewed as 'too big to fail', or TBTF. In this paper, I review the history of, and the rationale for, the TBTF policy. I argue that, from a policy perspective, the most important costs of the TBTF problem are incurred ex ante , in the form of distorted incentives that arise as a consequence of distortions to the capital markets, and to the choice of banks' scale and scope. I argue that it is impossible credibly to withdraw the TBTF policy, and, hence, that it should be managed so as to minimize the costs of these distortions. In this context, I discuss the role of policy in institutional design, in the restriction of bank scope, and in designing appropriate capital regulations. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan D. Morrison, 2011. "Systemic risks and the 'too-big-to-fail' problem'," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 498-516.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:27:y:2011:i:3:p:498-516
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grr020
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    Cited by:

    1. Richters, Oliver & Siemoneit, Andreas, 2017. "Fear of stagnation? A review on growth imperatives," VÖÖ Discussion Papers 6/2017, Vereinigung für Ökologische Ökonomie e.V. (VÖÖ).
    2. Itai Agur & Sunil Sharma, 2013. "Rules, Discretion, and Macro-Prudential Policy," IMF Working Papers 13/65, International Monetary Fund.
    3. De Caux, Robert & McGroarty, Frank & Brede, Markus, 2017. "The evolution of risk and bailout strategy in banking systems," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 468(C), pages 109-118.

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