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Deposit insurance: a reconsideration

  • John H. Boyd
  • Chun Chang
  • Bruce D. Smith

This paper undertakes a simple general equilibrium analysis of the consequences of deposit insurance programs, the way in which they are priced and the way in which they fund revenue shortfalls. We show that the central issue is how the government will make up any FDIC losses. Under one scheme for making up the losses, we show that FDIC policy is irrelevant: it does not matter what premium is charged, nor does it matter how big FDIC losses are. Under another scheme, all that matters is the magnitude of the losses. And there is no presumption that small losses are “good.” We also show that multiple equilibria can be observed and Pareto ranked. Some economies may be “trapped” in equilibria with inefficient financial systems. Our analysis provides counterexamples to the following propositions. (1) Actuarially fair pricing of deposit insurance is always desirable. (2) Implicit FDIC subsidization of banks through deposit insurance is always undesirable. (3) “Large” FDIC losses are necessarily symptomatic of a poorly designed deposit insurance system.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 593.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:593
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  1. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
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  4. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  8. Mark Gertler & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1988. "Financial factors in business fluctuations," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 33-78.
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  10. John H. Boyd & Chun Chang & Bruce D. Smith, 1998. "Moral hazard under commercial and universal banking," Working Papers 585, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  13. Mailath George J. & Mester Loretta J., 1994. "A Positive Analysis of Bank Closure," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 272-299, June.
  14. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
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  16. Berlin, Mitchell & John, Kose & Saunders, Anthony, 1996. "Bank Equity Stakes in Borrowing Firms and Financial Distress," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(3), pages 889-919.
  17. Yuk-Shee Chan & Stuart I. Greenbaum & Anjan V. Thakor, 2004. "Is Fairly Priced Deposit Insurance Possible?," Finance 0411018, EconWPA.
  18. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 1994. "The prudential regulation of banks," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9539, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. John, Kose & John, Teresa A. & Saunders, Anthony, 1994. "Universal banking and firm risk-taking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 307-323, January.
  20. G. B. Gorton & J. G. Haubrich, . "Bank Deregulation, Credit Markets and the Control of Capital," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 8-86, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  21. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  22. George A. Akerlof & Paul M. Romer, 1993. "Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 1-74.
  23. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
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