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A model of stigma in the fed funds market

  • Humberto M. Ennis
  • John A. Weinberg

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.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we095937.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we095937
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  1. Xavier Freixas, 2005. "Interbank Market Integration under Asymmetric Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 459-490.
  2. Xavier Freixas & Antoine Martin & David Skeie, 2011. "Bank Liquidity, Interbank Markets, and Monetary Policy," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2656-2692.
  3. Heider, Florian & Hoerova, Marie & Holthausen, Cornelia, 2010. "Liquidity Hoarding and Interbank Market Spreads: The Role of Counterparty Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 7762, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Patrick Bolton & Tano Santos & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2009. "Outside and Inside Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 14867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-87, May.
  6. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "The Payments System, Liquidity, and Rediscounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1126-38, December.
  7. Acharya, Viral V & Gromb, Denis & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2008. "Imperfect Competition in the Inter-Bank Market for Liquidity as a Rationale for Central Banking," CEPR Discussion Papers 6984, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Flannery, Mark J, 1996. "Financial Crises, Payment System Problems, and Discount Window Lending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 804-24, November.
  9. Stavros Peristiani, 1998. "The Growing Reluctance To Borrow At The Discount Window: An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 611-620, November.
  10. Furfine, Craig, 2003. "Standing Facilities and Interbank Borrowing: Evidence from the Federal Reserve's New Discount Window," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 329-47, Winter.
  11. Douglas W Diamond, 2010. "Fear of fire sales and the credit freeze," BIS Working Papers 305, Bank for International Settlements.
  12. Thomas B. King, 2008. "Discipline and Liquidity in the Interbank Market," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 295-317, 03.
  13. Leonardo Bartolini & Svenja Gudell & Spence Hilton & Krista Schwarz, 2005. "Intraday trading in the overnight federal funds market," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Nov).
  14. Furfine, Craig H., 2000. "Interbank payments and the daily federal funds rate," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 535-553, October.
  15. Guillaume Rocheteau & Ricardo Lagos, 2008. "Liquidity in asset markets with search frictions," Working Paper 0804, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  16. Adam B. Ashcraft & Darrell Duffie, 2007. "Systemic Illiquidity in the Federal Funds Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 221-225, May.
  17. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2002. "A unified framework for monetary theory and policy analysis," Working Paper 0211, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  18. Xavier Freixas & José Jorge, 2008. "The Role of Interbank Markets in Monetary Policy: A Model with Rationing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(6), pages 1151-1176, 09.
  19. Darrell Duffie & Nicolae Garleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2004. "Over-the-Counter Markets," NBER Working Papers 10816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Kim, Youngse, 2003. "Income distribution and equilibrium multiplicity in a stigma-based model of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1591-1616, August.
  21. Furfine, Craig, 2002. "The interbank market during a crisis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 809-820, May.
  22. Franklin Allen & Elena Carletti & Douglas Gale, 2009. "Interbank Market Liquidity and Central Bank Intervention," Economics Working Papers ECO2009/09, European University Institute.
  23. Andrea L. Eisfeldt, 2004. "Endogenous Liquidity in Asset Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 1-30, 02.
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