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The lender of last resort: a 21st century approach

  • Freixas, Xavier
  • Parigi, Bruno M.
  • Rochet, Jean-Charles

The classical Bagehot’s conception of a Lender of Last Resort (LOLR) that lends to illiquid banks has been criticized on two grounds: on the one hand, the distinction between insolvency and illiquidity is not clear cut; on the other a fully collateralized repo market allows Central Banks to provide the adequate aggregated amount of liquidity and leave the responsibility of lending uncollateralized to the banks. The object of this paper is to analyze rigorously these issues by providing a framework where liquidity shocks cannot be distinguished from solvency ones and ask whether there is a need for a LOLR and how should it operate. Determining the optimal LOLR policy requires a careful modeling of the structure of the interbank market and of the closure policy. In our set up, the results depend upon the existence of moral hazard. If the main source of moral hazard is the banks’ lack of incentives to screen loans, then the LOLR may have to intervene to improve the e?ciency of an unsecured interbank market; if instead, the main source of moral hazard is loans monitoring, then the interbank market should be secured and the LOLR should never intervene. JEL Classification: E58, G28

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0298.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030298
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  1. Luigi Zingales & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2003. "Banks and Markets: The Changing Character of European Finance," NBER Working Papers 9595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 1996. "Interbank Lending and Systemic Risk," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 733-62, November.
  3. X. Freixas & B. Parigi & J-C. Rochet, 2000. "Systemic Risk, Interbank Relations and Liquidity Provision by theCentral Bank," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 47, Netherlands Central Bank.
  4. Philippe Aghion, Patrick Bolton & Steven Fries, 1999. "Optimal Design of Bank Bailouts: The Case of Transition Economies," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(1), pages 51-, March.
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  8. Repullo, R., 1999. "Who Should Act as Lender of Last Resort? An Incomplete Contracts Model," Papers 9913, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  9. Gary Gorton & Lixin Huang, 2002. "Bank Panics and the Endogeneity of Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 9102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Charles M. Kahn & João A. C. Santos, 2001. "Allocating bank regulatory powers: lender of last resort, deposit insurance and supervision," BIS Working Papers 102, Bank for International Settlements.
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  14. Leonardo Bartolini & Alessandro Prati, 2003. "The execution of monetary policy: a tale of two central banks," Staff Reports 165, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  17. Padoa-Schioppa, Tommaso, 1999. "EMU and Banking Supervision," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 295-308, July.
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