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A Theory of Slow-Moving Capital and Contagion

Author

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  • Acharya, Viral V
  • Shin, Hyun Song
  • Yorulmazer, Tanju

Abstract

Fire sales that occur during crises beg the question of why sufficient outside capital does not move in quickly to take advantage of fire sales, or in other words, why outside capital is so slow-moving. We propose an answer to this puzzle in the context of an equilibrium model of capital allocation. Keeping capital in liquid form in anticipation of possible fire sales entails costs in terms of foregone profitable investments. Set against this, those same profitable investments are rendered illiquid in future due to agency problems embedded with expertise. We show that a robust consequence of this trade-off between making investments today and waiting for arbitrage opportunities in future is the combination of occasional fire sales and limited stand-by capital that moves in only if fire-sale discounts are sufficiently deep. An extension of our model to several types of investments gives rise to a novel channel for contagion where sufficiently adverse shocks to one type can induce fire sales in other types that are fundamentally unrelated, provided arbitrage activity in these investments is sourced from a common pool of capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Acharya, Viral V & Shin, Hyun Song & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2009. "A Theory of Slow-Moving Capital and Contagion," CEPR Discussion Papers 7147, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7147
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Morrison, Alan D. & White, Lucy, 2013. "Reputational contagion and optimal regulatory forbearance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 642-658.
    2. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi, 2014. "Persistent Liquidity Effects and Long-Run Money Demand," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 71-107, April.
    3. Shakill Hassan & Sean Smith, 2011. "The Rand as a Carry Trade Target: Risk, Returns and Policy Implications," Working Papers 235, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    4. Viral V. Acharya & Hyun Song Shin & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2011. "Crisis Resolution and Bank Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2166-2205.
    5. Morrison, Alan D. & White, Lucy, 2010. "Reputational contagion and optimal regulatory forbearance," Working Paper Series 1196, European Central Bank.
    6. Andrea L. Eisfeldt & Hanno Lustig & Lei Zhang, 2017. "Complex Asset Markets," NBER Working Papers 23476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dong Lou & Hongjun Yan & Jinfan Zhang, 2013. "Anticipated and Repeated Shocks in Liquid Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(8), pages 1891-1912.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    arbitrage; crises; fire sales; illiquidity; spillover;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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