The Design of Financial Systems: Towards a Synthesis of Function and Structure
This paper proposes a functional approach to designing and managing the financial systems of countries, regions, firms, households, and other entities. It is a synthesis of the neoclassical, neo-institutional, and behavioral perspectives. Neoclassical theory is an ideal driver to link science and global practice in finance because its prescriptions are robust across time and geopolitical borders. By itself, however, neoclassical theory provides little prescription or prediction of the institutional structure of financial systems that is, the specific kinds of financial intermediaries, markets, and regulatory bodies that will or should evolve in response to underlying changes in technology, politics, demographics, and cultural norms. The neoclassical model therefore offers important, but incomplete, guidance to decision makers seeking to understand and manage the process of institutional change. In accomplishing this task, the neo-institutional and behavioral perspectives can be very useful. In this proposed synthesis of the three approaches, functional and structural finance (FSF), institutional structure is endogenous. When particular transaction costs or behavioral patterns produce large departures from the predictions of the ideal frictionless' neoclassical equilibrium for a given institutional structure, new institutions tend to develop that partially offset the resulting inefficiencies. In the longer run, after institutional structures have had time to fully develop, the predictions of the neoclassical model will be approximately valid for asset prices and resource allocations. Through a series of examples, the paper sets out the reasoning behind the FSF synthesis and illustrates its application.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Merton, Robert C., and Zvi Bodie. "The Design of Financial Systems: Towards a Synthesis of Function and Structure." Journal of Investment Management 3, no. 1 (First Quarter 2005): 1-23.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Zvi Bodie, 2001. "Financial Engineering and Social Security Reform," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 291-320 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005.
"The Only Game in Town: Stock-Price Consequences of Local Bias,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
2077, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Hong, Harrison & Kubik, Jeffrey D. & Stein, Jeremy C., 2008. "The only game in town: Stock-price consequences of local bias," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 20-37, October.
- Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "The Only Game in Town: Stock-Price Consequences of Local Bias," NBER Working Papers 11488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stein, Jeremy & Kubik, Jeffrey D. & Hong, Harrison, 2008. "The Only Game in Town: Stock-Price Consequences of Local Bias," Scholarly Articles 3710665, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- M. B. Haugh & A. W. Lo, 2001. "Asset allocation and derivatives," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 45-72.
- Shleifer, Andrei, 2000. "Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292272, December.
- David Hirshleifer, 2001.
"Investor Psychology and Asset Pricing,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1533-1597, 08.
- Ross Levine, 2002.
"Bank-Based or Market-Based Financial Systems: Which is Better?,"
William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series
442, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
- Levine, Ross, 2002. "Bank-Based or Market-Based Financial Systems: Which Is Better?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 398-428, October.
- Ross Levine, 2002. "Bank-Based or Market-Based Financial Systems: Which is Better?," NBER Working Papers 9138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hakansson, Nils H., 1979. "The Fantastic World of Finance: Progress and the Free Lunch," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(04), pages 717-734, November.
- Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Law, politics, and finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2585, The World Bank.
- Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
- R. C. Merton, 1970.
"Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model,"
58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
- Merton, Robert C., 1987.
"A simple model of capital market equilibrium with incomplete information,"
1869-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Merton, Robert C, 1987. " A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 483-510, July.
- Robert E. Hall, 2001. "Struggling to Understand the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 1-11, May.
- Scholes, Myron S., 1997.
"Derivatives in a Dynamic Environment,"
Nobel Prize in Economics documents
1997-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
- Karen K. Lewis, 1998. "International Home Bias in International Finance and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 6351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Goldman, M Barry & Sosin, Howard B & Shepp, Lawrence A, 1979. "On Contingent Claims That Insure Ex-post Optimal Stock Market Timing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(2), pages 401-13, May.
- G. William Schwert, 2002.
"Anomalies and Market Efficiency,"
NBER Working Papers
9277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- George M. Constantinides, 2005.
"Capital Market Equilibrium with Transaction Costs,"
World Scientific Book Chapters,
in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 7, pages 207-227
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
- Huberman, Gur, 2001. "Familiarity Breeds Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 659-80.
- Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-39, May.
- Barberis, Nicholas & Thaler, Richard, 2003.
"A survey of behavioral finance,"
Handbook of the Economics of Finance,
in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1053-1128
- Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
- Henrik Cronqvist & Richard H. Thaler, 2004. "Design Choices in Privatized Social-Security Systems: Learning from the Swedish Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 424-428, May.
- King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993.
"Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1083, The World Bank.
- Owen A. Lamont & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Anomalies: The Law of One Price in Financial Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 191-202, Fall.
- Harald Benink, 2001. "An Exploration of Neo-Austrian Theory Applied to Financial Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(3), pages 1011-1027, 06.
- J. Tobin, 1958.
"Liquidity Preference as Behavior Towards Risk,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 65-86.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
- Mario Draghi & Francesco Giavazzi & Robert C. Merton, 2003. "Transparency, Risk Management and International Financial Fragility," NBER Working Papers 9806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ross M. Miller, 2002. "Can Markets Learn to Avoid Bubbles?," Experimental 0201001, EconWPA, revised 07 Jan 2002.
- Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999.
"Finance and the sources of growth,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2057, The World Bank.
- Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10620. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.