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Systemic Risk in the Financial Industry: “Mimetism” for the Best and for the Worst


  • Thierry Warin
  • Robert E. Prasch


In the wake of the worst financial crisis since 1929, economists are revisiting the received understanding of how financial markets and institutions actually operate. This paper aims to contribute to this reexamination. It builds upon the traditional and widely-accepted mean-variance approach to the processing of information under conditions of risk while reconsidering an inadequately contemplated premise: the actual organization of the financial market. Now, a lot has been said about perverse incentives and contracting arrangements, firms with oligopolistic power, the pricing and market advantages of being too big to fail, and the associated inefficiencies of the regulatory and supervision systems. While we believe that much of that work is valid, we also believe that too little has been done to meld modern portfolio theory (MPT) with insights that can be drawn from recent developments in Industrial Organization. In the model presented here, the MPT finds its place through the "coordination"" mechanism, which is the transmission of financial information among agents. The IO perspective finds its place in our model through a variable capturing the fragility of the system: the probability that the quality of information can itself be altered by the system's ""complexity,"" which in its extreme from can be described as ""opacity."""

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  • Thierry Warin & Robert E. Prasch, 2013. "Systemic Risk in the Financial Industry: “Mimetism” for the Best and for the Worst," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-29, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2013s-29

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arestis, Philip & Basu, Santonu, 2004. "Financial globalisation and regulation," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 129-140, June.
    2. Thierry Warin & Andrew Blakely, 2012. "Choice or Mimetism in the Decision to Migrate? A European Illustration," Global Economy Journal (GEJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 1-32, April.
    3. Robert E. Prasch, 2010. "Bankers Gone Wild: The Crash of 2008," Chapters, in: Steven Kates (ed.), Macroeconomic Theory and its Failings, chapter 11, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Jezabel Couppey-Soubeyran, 2010. "Financial Regulation in the Crisis Regulation, Market Discipline, Internal Control: the Big Three in Turmoil," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 123, pages 13-29.
    5. Andre Fourcans & Thierry Warin, 2010. "Tax competition and information sharing in Europe: a signalling game," International Journal of Economics and Business Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(1/2), pages 76-86.
    6. Robert E. Prasch & Thierry Warin, 2012. "Moral Hazard and the Mounting of a Crisis: A U.S. Narrative," CIRANO For discussion... 2012dt-03, CIRANO.
    7. Whitehead, Charles, 2010. "Reframing Financial Regulation," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 29, pages 57-69.
    8. Coskun, Yener, 2011. "Financial Engineering and Engineering of Financial Regulation," MPRA Paper 34838, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Charles J. Whalen, 2001. "Integrating Schumpeter and Keynes: Hyman Minsky’s Theory of Capitalist Development," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 805-823, December.
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    More about this item


    systemic risk; specific risk; systematic risk; financial industry; modern portfolio theory; complexity; opacity; Minsky moment; complex systems;
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