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Flight to Quality and Collective Risk Management

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Arvind Krishnamurthy

Abstract

We present a model of flight to quality episodes that emphasizes systemic risk and the Knightian uncertainty surrounding these episodes. Agents make risk management decisions with incomplete knowledge. They understand their own shocks, but are uncertain of how correlated their shocks are with systemwide shocks. Aversion to this uncertainty leads them to question whether their private risk management decisions are robust to aggregate events, generating conservatism and excessive demand for safety. We show that agents' actions lock-up the capital of the financial system in a manner that is wasteful in the aggregate and can trigger and amplify a financial accelerator. The scenario that the collective of conservative agents are guarding against is impossible, and known to be so even given agents' incomplete knowledge. A lender of last resort, even if less knowledgeable than private agents about individual shocks, does not suffer from this collective bias and finds that pledging intervention in extreme events is valuable. The benefit of such intervention exceeds its direct value because it unlocks private capital markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2006. "Flight to Quality and Collective Risk Management," NBER Working Papers 12136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12136
    Note: CF EFG IFM ME
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shahzad, Syed Jawad Hussain & Kumar, Ronald Ravinesh & Ali, Sajid & Ameer, Saba, 2016. "Interdependence between Greece and other European stock markets: A comparison of wavelet and VMD copula, and the portfolio implications," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 457(C), pages 8-33.
    2. Shahzad, Syed Jawad Hussain & Nor, Safwan Mohd & Kumar, Ronald Ravinesh & Mensi, Walid, 2017. "Interdependence and contagion among industry-level US credit markets: An application of wavelet and VMD based copula approaches," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 466(C), pages 310-324.
    3. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2007. "The Demand for Treasury Debt," NBER Working Papers 12881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alexander Kern & Eatwell John & Persaud Avinash, 2012. "The Nature of Modern Credit Markets, Banking and Financial Innovation," Chapters,in: Research Handbook on International Financial Regulation, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G - Financial Economics

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