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A model of stigma in the fed funds market

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  • Ennis, Huberto M.
  • Weinberg, John A.

Abstract

It is often the case that banks in the US are willing to borrow in the fed funds market (the interbank market for funds) at higher rates than the ones they could obtain by borrowing at the Fed's discount window. This phenomenon is commonly explained as the consequence of the existence of a stigma effect attached to borrowing from the window. Most policymakers and empirical researchers consider the stigma hypothesis plausible. Yet, no formal treatment of the issue has ever been provided in the literature. In this paper, we fill that gap by studying a model of interbank credit where: (1) banks benefit from engaging in intertemporal trade with other banks and with outside investors; and (2) informational frictions limit those trade opportunities. In our model, banks obtain loans in an over-the-counter market (involving search, bilateral matching, and negotiations over the terms of the loan) and hold assets of heterogeneous qualities which in turn determine their ability to repay those loans. When asset quality is not perfectly unobservable by outside investors, information about the actions taken by a bank in the credit market may influence the price at which it can sell its asset. In particular, under some conditions, discount window borrowing may be regarded as a negative signal about the quality of the borrower's assets. In such cases, some of the banks in our model, just as in the data, are willing to accept loans in the interbank market at higher rates than the ones they could obtain at the discount window.

Suggested Citation

  • Ennis, Huberto M. & Weinberg, John A., 2009. "A model of stigma in the fed funds market," UC3M Working papers. Economics we095937, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we095937
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen D. Williamson, 2016. "Current Federal Reserve Policy under the Lens of Economic History: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 922-934, September.
    2. Massimiliano Affinito, 2013. "Central bank refinancing, interbank markets, and the hypothesis of liquidity hoarding: evidence from a euro-area banking system," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 928, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Cañón Salazar Carlos Iván, 2016. "Distributional Policy Effects with Many Treatment Outcomes," Working Papers 2016-01, Banco de México.
    4. Elizabeth C. Klee, 2011. "The first line of defense: the discount window during the early stages of the financial crisis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Interbank market;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System

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