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The 2007 Subprime Market Crisis Through the Lens of European Central Bank Auctions for Short-Term Funds

  • Nuno Cassola
  • Ali Hortacsu
  • Jakub Kastl

In this paper we study European banks' demand for short-term funds (liquidity) during the summer 2007 subprime market crisis. We use bidding data from the European Central Bank's auctions for one-week loans, their main channel of monetary policy implementation. Through a model of bidding, we show that banks' behavior reflects their cost of obtaining short-term funds elsewhere (i.e., in the interbank market) as well as a strategic response to other bidders. We find considerable heterogeneity across banks in their willingness to pay for short-term funds supplied in these auctions. Accounting for the strategic component is important: while a naive interpretation of the raw bidding data may suggest that virtually all banks suffered a dramatic increase in the cost of obtaining funds in the interbank market, we find that for about one third of the banks, the change in bidding behavior was simply a strategic response. Using a complementary data set, we also find that banks' pre-turmoil liquidity costs, as estimated by our model, are predictive of their post-turmoil liquidity costs, and that there is considerable heterogeneity in these costs with respect to the country-of-origin. Finally, among the publicly traded banks, the willingness to pay for short-term funds in the second half of 2007 are predictive of stock prices in late 2008.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15158.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Nuno Cassola & Ali Hortaçsu & Jakub Kastl, 2013. "The 2007 Subprime Market Crisis Through the Lens of European Central Bank Auctions for ShortâTerm Funds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(4), pages 1309-1345, 07.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15158
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  1. Eisenschmidt, Jens & Hirsch, Astrid & Linzert, Tobias, 2009. "Bidding behaviour in the ECB’s main refinancing operations during the financial crisis," Working Paper Series 1052, European Central Bank.
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  8. Athey, Susan & Haile, Philip A., 2007. "Nonparametric Approaches to Auctions," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 60 Elsevier.
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  16. Kastl, Jakub, 2012. "On the properties of equilibria in private value divisible good auctions with constrained bidding," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 339-352.
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