IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bis/biswps/479.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding the role of debt in the financial system

Author

Listed:
  • Bengt Holmstrom

Abstract

Money markets are fundamentally different from stock markets. Stock markets are about price discovery for the purpose of allocating risk efficiently. Money markets are about obviating the need for price discovery using over-collateralised debt to reduce the cost of lending. Yet, attempts to reform credit markets in the wake of the recent financial crisis often draw on insights grounded in our understanding of stock markets. This can be very misleading. The paper presents a perspective on the logic of credit markets and the structure of debt contracts that highlights the information insensitivity of debt. This perspective explains among other things why opacity often enhances liquidity in credit markets and therefore why all financial panics involve debt. These basic insights into the nature of debt and credit markets are simple but important for thinking about policies on transparency, on capital buffers and other regulatory issues concerning banking and money markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Bengt Holmstrom, 2015. "Understanding the role of debt in the financial system," BIS Working Papers 479, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:479
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work479.pdf
    File Function: Full PDF document
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work479.htm
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2013. "A Model of Shadow Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(4), pages 1331-1363, August.
    2. Peter M. DeMarzo & Ilan Kremer & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2005. "Bidding with Securities: Auctions and Security Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 936-959, September.
    3. Zhiguo He & Wei Xiong, 2012. "Dynamic Debt Runs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(6), pages 1799-1843.
    4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-41.
    5. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
    6. Innes, Robert D., 1990. "Limited liability and incentive contracting with ex-ante action choices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-67, October.
    7. Roman Inderst & Holger M. Mueller, 2006. "Informed Lending and Security Design," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(5), pages 2137-2162, October.
    8. Nachman, David C & Noe, Thomas H, 1994. "Optimal Design of Securities under Asymmetric Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 1-44.
    9. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Donald Trump, Treasury Debt and the Dollar
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2016-05-16 16:56:15
    2. Donald Trump, Treasury Debt and the Dollar
      by Stephen G. Cecchetti in Huffington Post Business on 2016-05-24 09:01:07
    3. How to Ensure the Crisis Provision of Safe Assets
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2017-06-26 13:52:56

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman, 2018. "Credit Market Freezes," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 493-526.
    2. Merton, Robert C. & Thakor, Richard T., 2019. "Customers and investors: A framework for understanding the evolution of financial institutions," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 4-18.
    3. Ranaldo, Angelo & Wrampelmeyer, Jan, 2016. "Unsecured and Secured Funding," Working Papers on Finance 1616, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    4. Gündüz, Yalin & Ottonello, Giorgio & Pelizzon, Loriana & Schneider, Michael & Subrahmanyam, Marti G., 2018. "Lighting up the dark: Liquidity in the German corporate bond market," SAFE Working Paper Series 230, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    5. Karthik Balakrishnan & Aytekin Ertan, 2019. "Bank asset transparency and credit supply," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1359-1391, December.
    6. Ranaldo, Angelo & Rupprecht, Matthias, 2016. "The Forward Premium in Short-Term Rates," Working Papers on Finance 1619, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Sep 2019.
    7. Zheng, Yi, 2020. "Does bank opacity affect lending?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    8. Gallagher, Emily & Schmidt, Lawrence & Timmermann, Allan G & Wermers, Russ, 2017. "Transparency, Investor Information Acquisition, and Money Market Fund Risk Rebalancing during the 2011-12 Eurozone Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 11895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stenzel, André, 2018. "Security design with interim public information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 113-130.
    2. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2016. "Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström: Contract Theory," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2016-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    3. Inderst, Roman & Mueller, Holger M, 2003. "Credit Risk Analysis and Security Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3686, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Eduard Marinov, 2016. "The 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 97-149.
    5. Roman Inderst & Holger M. Mueller, 2006. "Informed Lending and Security Design," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(5), pages 2137-2162, October.
    6. Langberg, Nisan, 2008. "Optimal financing for growth firms," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 379-406, July.
    7. Bruno Biais & Thomas Mariotti, 2005. "Strategic Liquidity Supply and Security Design," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 615-649.
    8. Barney Hartman‐Glaser & Benjamin Hébert, 2020. "The Insurance Is the Lemon: Failing to Index Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(1), pages 463-506, February.
    9. Fulghieri, Paolo & Garcia, Diego & Hackbarth, Dirk, 2015. "Asymmetric information, security design, and the pecking (dis)order," CEPR Discussion Papers 10660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Mike Burkart & Samuel Lee, 2016. "Smart Buyers," Review of Corporate Finance Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 239-270.
    11. Mahmoud Sami Nabi, 2016. "Revisiting equity and debt: access to finance and economic inefficiency," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(4), pages 393-429, December.
    12. Jeffrey Lacker, 2001. "Collateralized Debt as the Optimal Contract," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 842-859, October.
    13. Patrick Bolton & Neng Wang & Jinqiang Yang, 2016. "Liquidity and Risk Management: Coordinating Investment and Compensation Policies," 2016 Meeting Papers 1703, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Oliver Hart, 2017. "Incomplete Contracts and Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(7), pages 1731-1752, July.
    15. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Legros & Steven A. Matthews, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Capital Structure Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 890-930, June.
    16. Guillaume Plantin, "undated". "Tranching," GSIA Working Papers 2005-E2, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    17. Inderst, Roman & Vladimirov, Vladimir, 2012. "Preserving "Debt Capacity" or "Equity Capacity": A Dynamic Theory of Security Design under Asymmetric Information," MPRA Paper 53840, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Marta Troya-Martinez, 2017. "Self-Enforcing Trade Credit," Working Papers w0240, New Economic School (NES).
    19. Koufopoulos, Kostos & Kozhan, Roman & Trigilia, Giulio, 2014. "Optimal Security Design under Asymmetric Information and Profit Manipulation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1050, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    20. Paolo Fulghieri & Diego García & Dirk Hackbarth, 2020. "Asymmetric Information and the Pecking (Dis)Order," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 24(5), pages 961-996.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial crisis; liquidity; money markets; shadow banking; debt; information sensitivity; pawn shops; bailouts; banking regulation;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:479. 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: (Christian Beslmeisl). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bisssch.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.