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Do Social Networks Prevent or Promote Bank Runs?

  • Hubert Janos Kiss


    (Game Theory Research Group, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of SciencesAuthor-Name: Hubert J nos Kiss)

  • Ismael Rodriguez-Lara


    (Middlesex University London Department of Economics and International Development)

  • Alfonso Rosa-Garcia


    (Facultad de Ciencias Jur¡dicas y de la Empresa, Universidad Cat¢lica San Antonio.)

We report experimental evidence on the effect of observability of actions on bank runs. We model depositors' decision-making in a sequential framework, with three depositors located at the nodes of a network. Depositors observe the other depositors' actions only if connected by the network. Theoretically, a sufficient condition to prevent bank runs is that the second depositor to act is able to observe the first one's action (no matter what is observed). Experimentally, we find that observability of actions affects the likelihood of bank runs, but depositors' choice is highly influenced by the particular action that is being observed. Depositors who are observed by others at the beginning of the line are more likely to keep their money deposited, leading to less bank runs. When withdrawals are observed, bank runs are more likely even when the mere observation of actions should prevent them.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in its series IEHAS Discussion Papers with number 1344.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:1344
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