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On the Optimality of Bank Runs: Comment on Allen and Gale


  • Margarita Samartín

    (Departamento de Economía de la Empresa, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Calle Madrid 126, 28903 Getafe, Spain, e-mail:


This paper presents a model consistent with the business cycle view of the origins of banking panics. As in Allen and Gale (1998), bank runs arise endogenously as a consequence of the standard deposit contract in a world with aggregate uncertainty about asset returns. The purpose of the paper is to show that Allen and Gale's result about the optimality of bank runs depends on individuals's preferences. In a more general framework, considered in the present work, a laissez-faire policy can never be optimal, and therefore, regulation is always needed in order to achieve the first best. This result supports the traditional view that bank runs are costly and should be prevented with regulation. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory (2003) 28, 33–57. doi:10.1023/A:1022143831151

Suggested Citation

  • Margarita Samartín, 2003. "On the Optimality of Bank Runs: Comment on Allen and Gale," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 28(1), pages 33-57, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:genrir:v:28:y:2003:i:1:p:33-57

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    Cited by:

    1. Samartín Sáenz, Margarita, 2004. "Algunos temas relevantes en la teoría bancaria," DEE - Documentos de Trabajo. Economía de la Empresa. DB db040403, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.

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