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Did Capital Requirements and Fair Value Accounting Spark Fire Sales in Distressed Mortgage-Backed Securities?

Author

Listed:
  • Craig B. Merrill
  • Taylor D. Nadauld
  • René M. Stulz
  • Shane Sherlund

Abstract

Much attention has been paid to the large decreases in value of non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) during the financial crisis. Many observers have argued that the fall in prices was partly driven by decreased liquidity and fire sales. We investigate whether capital requirements and accounting rules at financial institutions contributed to the selling of RMBS at fire sale prices. For financial institutions subject to credit-sensitive capital requirements, capital requirements increase as an asset's credit becomes impaired. When accounting rules require such an asset's value to be marked-to-market and the fair value loss to be recognized in earnings, a capital-constrained firm can improve its capital position by selling the credit-impaired asset even if it has to accept a liquidity discount to do so. Using a sample of 5,014 repeat transactions of non-agency RMBS by insurance companies from 2006 to 2009, we show that insurance companies that became more capital-constrained because of operating losses (uncorrelated with RMBS credit quality) and also recognized fair value losses sold comparable RMBS at much lower prices than other insurance companies during the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig B. Merrill & Taylor D. Nadauld & René M. Stulz & Shane Sherlund, 2012. "Did Capital Requirements and Fair Value Accounting Spark Fire Sales in Distressed Mortgage-Backed Securities?," NBER Working Papers 18270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18270 Note: CF
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, pages 2201-2238.
    2. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
    3. Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2011. "Fire Sales in Finance and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 29-48, Winter.
    4. Christian Laux & Christian Leuz, 2010. "Did Fair-Value Accounting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 93-118, Winter.
    5. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2009. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2008," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
    6. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 425-451.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:33077925 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Nicole Boyson & Jean Helwege & Jan Jindra, 2014. "Crises, Liquidity Shocks, and Fire Sales at Commercial Banks," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 43(4), pages 857-884, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Georgescu, Oana-Maria, 2015. "Contagion in the interbank market: Funding versus regulatory constraints," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, pages 1-18.
    2. Ralph S. J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2015. "The Cost of Financial Frictions for Life Insurers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 445-475, January.
    3. repec:pal:gpprii:v:43:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1057_s41288-017-0046-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stijn Claessens, 2015. "An Overview of Macroprudential Policy Tools," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 397-422, December.
    5. Ralph S.J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2017. "Risk of Life Insurers: Recent Trends and Transmission Mechanisms," NBER Working Papers 23365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jobst, Andreas A., 2014. "Measuring systemic risk-adjusted liquidity (SRL)—A model approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 270-287.
    7. Riedler, Jesper & Brueckbauer, Frank, 2017. "Evaluating regulation within an artificial financial system: A framework and its application to the liquidity coverage ratio regulation," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-022, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Yogo, Motohiro & Koijen, Ralph S.J., 2014. "Shadow Insurance," Staff Report 505, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Ellul, Andrew & Jotikasthira, Chotibhak & Lundblad, Christian T. & Wang, Yihui, 2013. "Mark-to-market accounting and systemic risk: evidence from the insurance industry," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60968, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Ralph S. J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2016. "Shadow Insurance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1265-1287, May.
    11. Leung, W.S. & Taylor, N. & Evans, K.P., 2015. "The determinants of bank risks: Evidence from the recent financial crisis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 277-293.
    12. Sergey Chernenko & Adi Sunderam, 2016. "Liquidity transformation in asset management: Evidence from the cash holdings of mutual funds," ESRB Working Paper Series 23, European Systemic Risk Board.
    13. Douglas, Graeme & Noss, Joseph & Vause, Nicholas, 2017. "The impact of Solvency II regulations on life insurers’ investment behaviour," Bank of England working papers 664, Bank of England.
    14. Sergey Chernenko & Adi Sunderam, 2016. "Liquidity Transformation in Asset Management: Evidence from the Cash Holdings of Mutual Funds," NBER Working Papers 22391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Woon Sau Leung & Nicholas Taylor, 2013. "Testing for contagion: the impact of US structured markets on international financial markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Empirical Finance, chapter 11, pages 256-284 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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