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Limited commitment and central bank lending

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  • Marvin Goodfriend
  • Jeffrey M. Lacker

Abstract

Central bank or International Monetary Fund lending should be regarded as a line of credit, analogous to private line-of-credit products. Contractual provisions in private line-of-credit arrangements are designed to control managerial moral hazard and provide a means for profit-maximizing lenders to credibly commit to withdraw credit and induce closure when appropriate. The contractual mechanisms utilized by private line-of-credit providers are not effective for a central bank whose primary mission—to maintain financial system stability—can override its obligation to protect public funds and undercut its ability to limit its lending reach. We consider in some detail five broad approaches to a central bank’s commitment problem: good offices only, collateralization and early intervention, constructive ambiguity, extending supervisory and regulatory reach, and reputation building. Our analysis suggests that the first four institutional approaches cannot be counted on to overcome the fundamental forces inducing a central bank to lend. We argue that the only practical way for a central bank to credibly limit lending is for it to build up over time a reputation for restraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Marvin Goodfriend & Jeffrey M. Lacker, 1999. "Limited commitment and central bank lending," Working Paper 99-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:99-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Steelman, Aaron & Weinberg, John A., 2015. "The Financial Crisis: Toward an Explanation and Policy Response," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 1Q, pages 5-21.
    2. Plaut, Steven E. & Melnik, Arie L., 2003. "International institutional lending arrangements to sovereign borrowers," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 459-481, August.
    3. Goodfriend, Marvin, 2011. "Central banking in the credit turmoil: An assessment of Federal Reserve practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-12, January.
    4. Ulrich Erlenmaier & Hans Gersbach, 2001. "The Funds Concentration Effect and Discriminatory Bailout," CESifo Working Paper Series 591, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Smeets Heinz-Dieter & Schmid Anita, 2014. "Europäische Staatsschuldenkrise, Lender of last resort und Bankenunion / European sovereign debt crisis, lender of last resort and banking union," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 65(1), pages 47-74, January.
    6. Marvin Goodfriend, 2000. "Overcoming the zero bound on interest rate policy," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 1007-1057.
    7. Sanchez-Fung, Jose R., 2008. "The day-to-day interbank market, volatility, and central bank intervention in a developing economy," Economics Discussion Papers 2008-2, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    8. ANTOINE MARTIN & JAMES McANDREWS, 2010. "Should There Be Intraday Money Markets?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 110-122, January.
    9. Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2004. "Macroeconomic shocks and banking supervision," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, pages 93-110.
    10. Rafael Repullo, 2005. "Liquidity, Risk Taking, and the Lender of Last Resort," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), September.
    11. Kahn, Charles M. & Santos, Joao A.C., 2005. "Allocating bank regulatory powers: Lender of last resort, deposit insurance and supervision," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2107-2136, November.
    12. Carare, Alina & Stone, Mark R., 2006. "Inflation targeting regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1297-1315, July.
    13. Sanchez-Fung, Jose R., 2008. "The day-to-day interbank market, volatility, and central bank intervention in a developing economy," Economics Discussion Papers 2008-2, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    14. Nijskens, Rob, 2014. "A sheep in wolf’s clothing: Can a central bank appear tougher than it is?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 94-103.
    15. Lacker, Jeffrey M., 2004. "Payment system disruptions and the federal reserve following September 11, 2001," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 935-965, July.
    16. Poczter, Sharon, 2016. "The long-term effects of bank recapitalization: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 131-153.
    17. Goodfriend, Marvin, 2014. "Lessons from a century of FED policy: Why monetary and credit policies need rules and boundaries," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 112-120.
    18. Marco A Espinosa-Vega & Rafael Matta & Charles M. Kahn & Juan Sole, 2011. "Systemic Risk and Optimal Regulatory Architecture," IMF Working Papers 11/193, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Mark R. Stone, 2003. "Inflation Targeting Lite," IMF Working Papers 03/12, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Xavier Freixas & Curzio Giannini & Glenn Hoggarth & Farouk Soussa, 2000. "Lender of Last Resort: What Have We Learned Since Bagehot?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 18(1), pages 63-84, October.
    21. Lacker, Jeffrey M., 2001. "The CLS bank: a solution to the risks of international payments settlement? A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 227-233, June.
    22. Stanley Fischer, 1999. "On the Need for an International Lender of Last Resort," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 85-104, Fall.
    23. Rafael Repullo, 2005. "Liquidity, Risk Taking, and the Lender of Last Resort," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), pages -, September.
    24. John R. Walter, 2004. "Closing troubled banks : how the process works," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 51-68.
    25. James A. Dorn, 2012. "Editor's Note," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 32(2), Spring/Su.

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    Keywords

    Banks and banking; Central ; Bank loans;

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