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Why Emergency Lending Facilities Go Unused


  • Leonardo Bartolini
  • Allan Drazen


In recent years, many emergency lending mechanisms have failed dramatically in their goal of providing financing of last resort to borrowers in need for liquidity: potential borrowers have been reluctant to seek financing, fearing that a request for funds could be seen as a sign of financial weakness, carrying a costly stigma with investors and regulators. This was the experience in the United States with the discount window since the mid 1980s, the Y2K Special Lending Facility, and the Primary Lending program that supplanted the discount window in 2003. Internationally, this was also the experience with the IMF's Contingent Credit Line and a number of voluntary bank rescue packages in Mexico, Japan, and elsewhere. We present an asymmetric information model of voluntary emergency borrowing that explains why lender of last resort facilities may go unused in equilibrium and why such equilibria may persist for a long ti

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Bartolini & Allan Drazen, 2004. "Why Emergency Lending Facilities Go Unused," 2004 Meeting Papers 746, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:746

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    More about this item


    discount window; lender of last resort;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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