IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

Financial innovation

In: Handbook of the Economics of Finance

  • Tufano, Peter
Registered author(s):

    Although financial innovation has been an important part of the financial landscape throughout modern economic history, it has received relatively little attention in academia. This essay surveys the existing literature on financial innovation from the disciplines of financial economics, history, law, and industrial organization. I begin by defining financial innovation and discussing problems with creating taxonomies of financial innovations. I then discuss the explanations given for the extensive amount of financial innovation we observe both today and in history, which include: (a) completing inherently incomplete markets; (b) addressing persistent agency concerns and information asymmetries; (c) minimizing transaction, search or marketing costs; (d) responding to tax and regulatory forces; (e) responding to changes in economic conditions, in particular new or newly perceived risks; and (f) capitalizing on technological developments. I review work that studies the identity of innovators, the process of diffusion of innovation, and private benefits of innovation. I illustrate these general trends with a description of a sequence of innovations that show that repeated experimentation and failure characterize the evolutionary process. As difficult as it may be to measure the private benefits to innovators, it has proven even more problematic to conclusively model or measure the social welfare benefits of financial innovation, although one can point to specific innovations that appear to enhance welfare.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    in new window

    This chapter was published in:
  • G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), 2003. "Handbook of the Economics of Finance," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of the Economics of Finance with number 1-06.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:finchp:1-06
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:finchp:1-06. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.