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Contagious Bank Runs: Experimental Evidence

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  • Martin Brown
  • Stefan Trautmann
  • Razvan Vlahu

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment to examine under which circumstances a depositor-run at one bank may lead to a depositor-run at another bank. We implement two-person coordination games which capture the essence of the Diamond-Dybvig (1983) bank-run model. Subjects in the roles of followers observe the deposit withdrawal decisions of leaders before they make their own deposit withdrawal decisions. In one treatment followers know that there are no economic linkages between the leaders' and the followers' banks. In a second treatment followers know that there are economic linkages between the leaders' and the followers' banks. Our results suggest that deposit withdrawals are strongly contagious across banks only when depositors know that there are economic linkages between banks. The contagion of withdrawals is by a change in beliefs about bank asset quality and in beliefs about the behavior of other depositors, with the latter channel being more pronounced. Our results reconcile panic-based and information-based explanations of bank runs.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Brown & Stefan Trautmann & Razvan Vlahu, 2012. "Contagious Bank Runs: Experimental Evidence," DNB Working Papers 363, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:363
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    Cited by:

    1. Kiss, Hubert J. & Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael & Rosa-Garcia, Alfonso, 2014. "Do women panic more than men? An experimental study of financial decisions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 40-51.
    2. John Duffy & Aikaterini Karadimitropoulou & Melanie Parravano, 2016. "Financial Contagion in the Laboratory: Does Network Structure Matter?," Working Papers 151608, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    3. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Kaplan, Todd R., 2014. "An experiment on the causes of bank run contagions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 39-51.
    4. Brown, Martin & Guin, Benjamin & Morkoetter, Stefan, 2013. "Deposit Withdrawals from Distressed Commercial Banks: The Importance of Switching Costs," Working Papers on Finance 1319, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Dec 2017.
    5. Guin, Benjamin & Brown, Martin & Morkötter, Stefan, 2015. "Deposit Withdrawals from Distressed Commercial Banks," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113081, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Dan Kovenock & David Rojo Arjona & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2016. "Focality and Asymmetry in Multi-battle Contests," Working Papers 16-16, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    7. Jasmina Arifovic & Janet Hua Jiang, 2014. "Do Sunspots Matter? Evidence from an Experimental Study of Bank Runs," Staff Working Papers 14-12, Bank of Canada.
    8. Kiss, Hubert Janos & Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael & Rosa-García, Alfonso, 2014. "Do social networks prevent or promote bank runs?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 87-99.
    9. Martin Dufwenberg, 2014. "Banking on Experiments?," Working Papers 534, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    10. Ciril Bosch-Rosa, 2014. "That's how we roll: an experiment on rollover risk," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2014-048, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contagion; Bank runs; Systemic risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • 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

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