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Optimal Bail Out Policy, Conditionality and Creative Ambiguity

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  • Xavier Freixas

Abstract

This paper addresses the issue of the optimal behaviour of the Lender of Last Resort (LOLR) in its microeconomic role regarding individual financial institutions in distress. It has been argued that the LOLR should not intervene at the microeconomic level and let any defaulting institution face the market discipline, as it will be confronted with the consequences of the risks it has taken. By considering a simple cost benefit analysis we show that this position my lack a sufficient foundation. We establish that, instead, under reasonable assumptions, the optimal policy has to be conditional on the amount of uninsured debt issued by the defaulting bank. Yet in equilibrium, because the rescue policy is costly, the LOLR will not rescue all the banks that fulfil the uninsured debt requirement condition, but will follow a fixed strategy. This we interpret as the confirmation of the ¶creative ambiguity¶ principle, perfectly in line with the central bankers claim that it is efficient for them to have discretion in lending to individual institutions. Alternatively, in other cases, when the social cost of a banks bankruptcy is too high, it is optimal for the LOLR to bail out the institution, and this gives support to the ¶too big to fail¶ policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Xavier Freixas, 1999. "Optimal Bail Out Policy, Conditionality and Creative Ambiguity," FMG Discussion Papers dp327, Financial Markets Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:fmg:fmgdps:dp327
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    Cited by:

    1. Stavros Vourloumis, 2013. "The New EU Framework for Fiscal Surveillance: Hard Policy Coordination in the Shadow of the Crisis," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    2. Haizhou Huang & Chenggang Xu, 1999. "Financial Institutions, Financial Contagion, and Financial Crises," CID Working Papers 21, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    3. Timothy C. Irwin, 2016. "Getting the Dog to Bark: Disclosing Fiscal Risks from the Financial Sector," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(02), pages 1-17, June.
    4. Ulrich Erlenmaier & Hans Gersbach, 2001. "The Funds Concentration Effect and Discriminatory Bailout," CESifo Working Paper Series 591, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Wim Boonstra & Allard Bruinshoofd, 2013. "Conditional Euro T-Bills as a Transitional Regime," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    6. Eric Maskin & Chenggang Xu, 2001. "Soft budget constraint theories: From centralization to the market," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, March.
    7. Harald W. Stieber, 2013. "Economic Governance in a Multi-Speed Variable-Geometry Europe," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    8. Nosal, Jaromir B. & Ordoñez, Guillermo, 2016. "Uncertainty as commitment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 124-140.
    9. Axel A. Weber, 2013. "The Global Economic Outlook – Challenges ahead and Implications for the Financial Industry," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    10. Rob Nijskens & Sylvester Eijffinger, 2011. "The Lender of Last Resort: Liquidity Provision versus the Possibility of Bailout," Chapters,in: Handbook of Central Banking, Financial Regulation and Supervision, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Ernest Gnan & Peter Egger & Morten Balling, 2013. "Introduction," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    12. Kornai, János & Maskin, Eric & Roland, Gérard, 2004. "A puha költségvetési korlát - II
      [The soft budget constraint II]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 777-809.
    13. António Afonso & João Tovar Jalles, 2014. "Fiscal composition and long-term growth," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 349-358, January.
    14. Dow, James & Han, Jungsuk, 2015. "Contractual incompleteness, limited liability and asset price bubbles," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 383-409.
    15. Séverine Menguy, 2013. "Can Eurobonds Save the Euro?," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    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. Morten Balling & Peter Egger & Ernest Gnan & Axel A. Weber & Harald W. Stieber & Stavros Vourloumis & António Afonso & João Tovar Jalles & Franco Bruni & André van Poeck & Maartje Wijffelaars & Séveri, 2013. "States, Banks, and the Financing of the Economy: Fiscal Policy and Sovereign Risk Perspectives," SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 2013/2 edited by Morten Balling & Peter Egger & Ernest Gnan, March.
    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. André Van Poeck & Maartje Wijffelaars, 2013. "Banking Weakness and Sovereign Debt Build-Up in the Euro Area: Implications for Debt Sustainability," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    20. Donald P. Morgan & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2005. "Too big to fail after all these years," Staff Reports 220, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    21. Blaise Gadanecz & Kostas Tsatsaronis & Yener Altunbas, 2008. "External support and bank behaviour in the international syndicated loan market," BIS Working Papers 265, Bank for International Settlements.
    22. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Restructuring Financial Regulation in the European Monetary Union," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 19(1), pages 57-82, February.
    23. Franco Bruni, 2013. "Curing and Preventing Euroarea’s Sovereign Debt Crises: some Issues and a Recipe," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    24. Stracca, Livio & Scheubel, Beatrice, 2016. "What do we know about the global financial safety net? Rationale, data and possible evolution," Occasional Paper Series 177, European Central Bank.
    25. Nancy Silva, 2008. "Deposit Insurance, Moral Hazard and the Risk of Runs," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 474, Central Bank of Chile.

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