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Collective Moral Hazard, Maturity Mismatch and Systemic Bailouts

  • Jean Tirole

    (Toulouse School of Economics)

  • Emmanuel Farhi

    (Department of Economics Harvard and TSE)

The paper elicits a mechanism by which private leverage choices exhibit strategic complementarities through the reaction of monetary policy. When everyone engages in maturity transformation, authorities have little choice but facilitating refinancing. In turn, refusing to adopt a risky balance sheet lowers the return on equity. The key ingredient is that monetary policy is non-targeted. The ex post benefits from a monetary bailout accrue in proportion to the number amount of leverage, while the distortion costs are to a large extent fixed. This insight has important consequences. First, banks choose to correlate their risk exposures. Second, private borrowers may deliberately choose to increase their interest-rate sensitivity following bad news about future needs for liquidity. Third, optimal monetary policy is time inconsistent. Fourth, macro-prudential supervision is called for. We characterize the optimal regulation, which takes the form of a minimum liquidity requirement coupled with monitoring of the quality of liquid assets. We establish the robustness of our insights when the set of bailout instruments is endogenous and characterize the structure of optimal bailouts.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2009.57.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2009.57
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  15. Acharya, Viral V & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2004. "Too Many to Fail - An Analysis of Time Inconsistency in Bank Closure Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 4778, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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