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Counterparty risk externality: Centralized versus over-the-counter markets

  • Viral Acharya

    (NYU Stern)

  • Alberto Bisin

    (NYU Economics)

The opacity of over-the-counter (OTC) markets, in which a large number of financial products including credit derivatives trade, appears to have played a central role in the nancial crisis in 2007-09. We model such opacity of OTC markets in a general equilibrium setup where agents share risks, but have incentives to default and their financial positions are not mutually observable. We show that in this setting, there is excess leverage, in that parties in OTC contracts take on short positions that lead to levels of default risk that are higher than Pareto-efficient ones. In particular, OTC markets feature a counterparty risk externality that we show can lead to ex-ante productive inefficiency. This externality is absent when trading is organized via a centralized clearing mechanism that provides transparency of trade positions, or a centralized counterparty (such as an exchange) that observes all trades and sets prices.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 618.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:618
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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  1. Alberto Bisin & Danilo Guaitoli, 1998. "Moral hazard and non-exclusive contracts," Economics Working Papers 345, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Adriano Rampini & Alberto Bisin, 2005. "Markets as Beneficial Constraints on the Government," 2005 Meeting Papers 325, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Alp Simsek, 2009. "Complexity and Financial Panics," NBER Working Papers 14997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  5. Acharya, Viral V. & Johnson, Timothy C., 2007. "Insider trading in credit derivatives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 110-141, April.
  6. James R. Thompson, 2010. "Counterparty Risk in Financial Contracts: Should the Insured Worry about the Insurer?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1195-1252, August.
  7. Alberto Bisin & Adriano Rampini, 2006. "Exclusive contracts and the institution of bankruptcy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 277-304, January.
  8. Christine A. Parlour & Guillaume Plantin, 2008. "Loan Sales and Relationship Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1291-1314, 06.
  9. T. Santos & J. Scheinkman, 2000. "Competition Among Exchanges," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s12, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  10. Gregory R. Duffee and Chunsheng Zhou., 1999. "Credit Derivatives in Banking: Useful Tools for Managing Risk?," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-289, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. Christine A. Parlour & Uday Rajan, 2001. "Competition in Loan Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1311-1328, December.
  12. Bizer, David S & DeMarzo, Peter M, 1992. "Sequential Banking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 41-61, February.
  13. Alberto Bisin & John Geanakoplos & Piero Gottardi & Enrico Minelli & Heracles Polemarchakis, 2009. "Markets and Contracts," Working Papers 0915, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  14. Darrell Duffie & Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2007. "Valuation in Over-the-Counter Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(6), pages 1865-1900, November.
  15. P. Dubey & J. Geanakoplos & M . Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Department of Economics Working Papers 01-07, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  16. Darrell Duffie & Nicolae Garleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2005. "Over-the-Counter Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1815-1847, November.
  17. Viral V. Acharya & Alberto Bisin, 2009. "Managerial hedging, equity ownership, and firm value," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 47-77.
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