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A dynamic analysis of bank bailouts and constructive ambiguity

  • Eijffinger, Sylvester C W
  • Nijskens, Rob

Bailout expectations have led banks to behave imprudently, holding too little capital and relying too much on short term funding to finance long term investments. This paper presents a model to rationalize a constructive ambiguity approach to liquidity assistance as a solution to forbearance. Faced with a bank that chooses capital and liquidity, the institution providing liquidity assistance can commit to a mixed strategy: never bailing out is too costly and therefore not credible, while always bailing out causes moral hazard. In equilibrium, the bank chooses above minimum capital and liquidity, unless either capital costs or the opportunity cost of liquidity are too high. We also find that the probability of a bailout is higher for a regulator more concerned about bank failure, and when the bailout penalty for the bank is higher; this suggests that forbearance is not entirely eliminated by adopting ambiguity.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8953.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8953
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  1. Alex Cukierman, 2007. "The limits of transparency," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Maria Demertzis & Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2004. "Central bank transparency in theory and practice," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 23, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
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  6. Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Tito Cordella, 1999. "Bank Bailouts; Moral Hazard vs. Value Effect," IMF Working Papers 99/106, International Monetary Fund.
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  8. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-86, March.
  9. Eijffinger, Sylvester C. W. & Hoeberichts, Marco, 2000. "Central Bank accountability and transparency: theory and some evidence," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2000,06, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  10. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
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  12. Aviram Levy & Sebastian Schich, 2010. "The Design of Government Guarantees for Bank Bonds: Lessons from the Recent Financial Crisis," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2010(1), pages 35-66.
  13. Ilhyock Shim, 2006. "Dynamic prudential regulation: Is prompt corrective action optimal?," BIS Working Papers 206, Bank for International Settlements.
  14. Kahn, Charles M. & Santos, Joao A.C., 2005. "Allocating bank regulatory powers: Lender of last resort, deposit insurance and supervision," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2107-2136, November.
  15. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  16. Cukierman, Alex & Izhakian, Yehuda, 2011. "Bailout Uncertainty in a Microfounded General Equilibrium Model of the Financial System," CEPR Discussion Papers 8453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Jakob Bosma, 2011. "Communicating Bailout Policy and Risk Taking in the Banking Industry," DNB Working Papers 277, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  18. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
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