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Welfare Effects of Financial Integration

  • Fecht, Falko
  • Grüner, Hans Peter
  • Hartmann, Philipp

This paper compares four forms of inter-regional financial risk sharing: (i) segmentation, (ii) integration trough the secured interbank market, (ii) integration trough the unsecured interbank market, (iv) integration of retail markets. The secured interbank market is an optimal risk-sharing device when banks report liquidity needs truthfully. It allows diversification without the risk of cross-regional financial contagion. However, free-riding on the liquidity provision in this market restrains the achievable risk-sharing as the number of integrated regions increases. In too large an area this moral hazard problem becomes so severe that either unsecured interbank lending or, ultimately, the penetration of retail markets is preferable. Even though this deeper financial integration entails the risk of contagion it may be beneficial for large economic areas, because it can implement an efficient sharing of idiosyncratic regional shocks. Therefore, the enlargement of a monetary union, for example, extending the common interbank market might increase the benefits of also integrating retail banking markets through cross-border transactions or bank mergers. We discuss these results in the context of the ongoing debate on European financial integration and the removal of bank branching restrictions in the United States during the 1990s, and we derive implications for the relationship between financial integration and financial stability. Last we illustrate the scope for cross-regional risk sharing with data on non-performing loans for the European Union, Switzerland and the United States.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6311.

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Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6311
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  1. Freixas, Xavier & Holthausen, Cornelia, 2001. "Interbank market integration under asymmetric information," Working Paper Series 0074, European Central Bank.
  2. Carletti, Elena & Hartmann, Philipp & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Bank mergers, competition and liquidity," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  3. Freixas, Xavier & Parigi, Bruno & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Systemic Risk, Interbank Relations and Liquidity Provision by the Central Bank," CEPR Discussion Papers 2325, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2003. "Liquidity Shortages and Banking Crises," NBER Working Papers 10071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Jith Jayaratne & Philip E. Strahan, 1997. "The benefits of branching deregulation," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 13-29.
  8. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Interbank lending and systemic risk," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 733-765.
  9. Yaron Leitner, 2005. "Financial Networks: Contagion, Commitment, and Private Sector Bailouts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2925-2953, December.
  10. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1999. "Financial Contagion," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2092, David K. Levine.
  11. Hans Degryse & Steven Ongena, 2004. "The Impact of Technology and Regulation on the Geographical Scope of Banking," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0408, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  12. Lieven Baele, 2004. "Measuring European Financial Integration," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 509-530, Winter.
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