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Bailout Uncertainty in a Microfounded General Equilibrium Model of the Financial System

  • Cukierman, Alex
  • Izhakian, Yehuda

This paper develops a micro-founded general equilibrium model of the financial system composed of ultimate borrowers, ultimate lenders and financial intermediaries. The model is used to investigate the impact of uncertainty about the likelihood of governmental bailouts on leverage, interest rates, the volume of defaults and the real economy. The distinction between risk and uncertainty is implemented by applying the Gilboa-Schmeidler maxmin with multiple priors framework to lenders' beliefs about the probability of bailout. Events like Lehman's collapse are conceived of as 'black swan' events that led lenders to put a positive mass on bailout probabilities that were previously assigned zero mass. Results of the analysis include: (i) An unanticipated increase in bailout uncertainty raises interest rates, the volume of defaults in both the real and financial sectors and may lead to a total drying up of credit markets. (ii) Lower exante bailout uncertainty is conducive to higher leverage - which raises moral hazard and makes the economy more vulnerable to expost increases in bailout uncertainty. (iii) Bailout uncertainty raises the likelihood of bubbles, the amplitude of booms and busts as well as the banking and the credit spreads. (iv) Bailout uncertainty is associated with higher returns’ variability in diversified portfolios and systemic risks, (v) Expansionary monetary policy reinforces those effects by inducing higher aggregate leverage levels.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8453.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8453
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  1. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2002. "A smooth model of decision making under ambiguity," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 11-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research, revised Apr 2003.
  2. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  3. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
  4. Simon Gilchrist & Egon Zakrajsek, 2012. "Credit Spreads and Business Cycle Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1692-1720, June.
  5. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2007. "Collective Risk Management in a Flight to Quality Episode," NBER Working Papers 12896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
  7. Ricardo J Caballero, 2010. "Sudden Financial Arrest," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 58(1), pages 6-36, August.
  8. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
  9. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  10. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  11. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
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