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Banks as Social Accountants and Screening Devices for the Allocation of Credit

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  • Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Andrew Weiss

Abstract

This paper presents and alternative perspective on the role of banks. We emphasize the ways in which banks act as social accountants and screening devices. In this view monetary disturbances have their effects through the disturbances which they induce in society's accounting system and in the mechanisms by which it is ascertained who is credit worthy. Because of asymmetric information, giving rise to credit rationing, interest rates do not play the simple allocative role ascribed by the conventional paradigm, and as a result the equilibrating forces provided by market mechanisms may be weak or virtually absent. The paper provides a critique of the transactions based approach to monetary theory, and sketches a general equilibrium formulation of the theory. The paper traces out some of the policy implications of the theory. We show that certain financial innovations, such as allowing for the more rapid recording of transactions, may actually be welfare reducing.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1988. "Banks as Social Accountants and Screening Devices for the Allocation of Credit," NBER Working Papers 2710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2710
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1974. "Incentives and Risk Sharing in Sharecropping," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 219-255.
    2. Blinder, Alan S & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 297-302, May.
    3. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1987. "The Causes and Consequences of the Dependence of Quality on Price," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-48, March.
    4. Friedman, Milton, 1971. "A Monetary Theory of Nominal Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(2), pages 323-337, March-Apr.
    5. Fama, Eugene F., 1980. "Banking in the theory of finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 39-57, January.
    6. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-387, May.
    7. Ordover, Janusz & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Information and the Law: Evaluating Legal Restrictions on Competitive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 399-404, May.
    8. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1991. "The Pure Theory of Country Risk," NBER Chapters,in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 391-435 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kletzer, Kenneth M, 1984. "Asymmetries of Information and LDC Borrowing with Sovereign Risk," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 287-307, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lino Sau, 2013. "Instability and Crisis in Financial Complex Systems," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 496-511, July.
    2. Steven Ongena, 1999. "Lending Relationships, Bank Default and Economic Activity," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 257-280.
    3. Bertocco Giancarlo, 2004. "Are banks really special? A note on the theory of financial intermediaries," Economics and Quantitative Methods qf04021, Department of Economics, University of Insubria.
    4. Mornati, Fiorenzo & Becchio, Giandomenica & Marchionatti, Roberto & Cassata, Francesco, 2009. ""Quando l'economica italiana non era seconda a nessuno" Luigi Einaudi e la Scuola di Economia a Torino," CESMEP Working Papers 200910, University of Turin.
    5. Giancarlo Bertocco, 2007. "The characteristics of a monetary economy: a Keynes--Schumpeter approach," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 101-122, January.
    6. Petar Peshev, 2014. "Credit dynamics in Central and Eastern Europe," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 2, pages 37-58,59-79.
    7. Federico Ferretti, 2007. "Consumer credit information systems: a critical review of the literature. Too little attention paid by Lawyers?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 71-88, February.
    8. Dirk Bezemer, 2012. "Credit cycles," Chapters,in: Handbook of Critical Issues in Finance, chapter 10, pages i-ii Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Lino Sau, 2012. "Evolution of China's financial system and its impact on economic development," International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(1), pages 1-15.
    10. Riccardo LUCCHETTI & Luca PAPI & Alberto ZAZZARO, 1999. "Efficienza del sistema bancario e crescita economica nelle regioni italiane," Working Papers 121, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    11. SAU, Lino, 2007. "New Pecking Order Financing for Innovative Firms: an Overview," MPRA Paper 3659, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Hyytinen, Ari, 2003. "Information production and lending market competition," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 233-253.
    13. Pietro Alessandrini & Alberto Zazzaro, 1998. "A 'possibilist' approach to regional banking systems and financial integration: The Italian experience," ERSA conference papers ersa98p132, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Gerhard Clemenz & Mona Ritthaler, 1992. "Credit markets with asymmetric information : a survey," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 12-26, Spring.
    15. Lucchetti, Riccardo & Papi, Luca & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2001. "Banks' Inefficiency and Economic Growth: A Micro-Macro Approach," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 48(4), pages 400-424, September.
    16. Bertocco Giancarlo, 2003. "The economics of financing firms: the role of banks," Economics and Quantitative Methods qf0312, Department of Economics, University of Insubria.
    17. Messori, Marcello, 2014. "A Schumpeterian analysis of the credit market," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 43-59.
    18. Mervyn K. Lewis, 1992. "Modern Banking in Theory and Practice," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 43(2), pages 203-228.
    19. Hyytinen, Ari, 2001. "Information Production, Banking Competition and the Market Structure of the Banking Industry," Discussion Papers 749, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    20. Iftekhar Hasan & Haizhi Wang & Mingming Zhou, 2009. "Do better institutions improve bank efficiency? Evidence from a transitional economy," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(2), pages 107-127, January.
    21. Sau Lino, 2009. "Gradualism and the Evolution of the Financial Structure in China," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200903, University of Turin.
    22. Lee, Jaewoo, 1996. "Financial development by learning," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 147-164, June.
    23. Chen Lin & Yue Ma & Frank M. Song, 2012. "What Drives Bank Operating Efficiency? The Role of Bank Competition and Credit Information Sharing," Chapters,in: Research Handbook on International Banking and Governance, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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