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Diversification and Financial Stability

  • Paolo Tasca

    ()

  • Stefano Battiston

The recent credit crisis of 2007/08 has raised a debate about the so-called knife-edge properties of financial markets. The paper contributes to the debate shedding light on the controversial relation between risk-diversification and financial stability. We model a financial network where assets held by borrowers to meet their obligations, include claims against other borrowers and securities exogenous to the network. The balance-sheet approach is conjugated with a stochastic setting and by a mean-field approximation the law of motion of the system's fragility is derived. We show that diversification has an ambiguous effect and beyond a certain levels elicits financial instability. Moreover, we find that risk-sharing restrictions create a socially preferable outcome. Our findings have significant implications for future policy recommendation.

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Paper provided by ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design in its series Working Papers with number CCSS-11-001.

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Handle: RePEc:stz:wpaper:ccss-11-001
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  1. Helmut Elsinger & Alfred Lehar & Martin Summer, 2002. "Risk Assessment for Banking Systems," Working Papers 79, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  2. Allen, Franklin & Babus, Ana & Carletti, Elena, 2010. "Financial Connections and Systemic Risk," Working Papers 10-20, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  3. Nier, Erlend & Yang, Jing & Yorulmazer, Tanju & Alentorn, Amadeo, 2008. "Network models and financial stability," Bank of England working papers 346, Bank of England.
  4. Ibragimov, Rustam & Walden, Johan, 2007. "The limits of diversification when losses may be large," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2551-2569, August.
  5. Allen, F. & Babus, A. & Carletti, E., 2010. "Financial Connections and Systemic Risk," Discussion Paper 2010-88S, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  7. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1999. "Financial Contagion," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2092, David K. Levine.
  8. Ibragimov, Rustam & Jaffee, Dwight & Walden, Johan, 2011. "Diversification disasters," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 333-348, February.
  9. Ibragimov, Rustam & Walden, Johan, 2007. "The limits of diversification when losses may be large," Scholarly Articles 2624460, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. HyunSong Shin, 2009. "Securitisation and Financial Stability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 309-332, 03.
  11. Florian Wagener & Cars Hommes & William Brock, 2006. "More hedging instruments may destabilize markets," Working Papers wp06-11, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  12. Acharya, Viral V., 2009. "A theory of systemic risk and design of prudential bank regulation," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 224-255, September.
  13. Stefano Battiston & Domenico Delli Gatti & Mauro Gallegati & Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2009. "Liaisons Dangereuses: Increasing Connectivity, Risk Sharing, and Systemic Risk," NBER Working Papers 15611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Shin, Hyun Song, 2008. "Risk and liquidity in a system context," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 315-329, July.
  15. Rustam Ibragimov & Johan Walden, 2006. "The Limits of Diversification When Losses May Be Large," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2104, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Larry Eisenberg & Thomas H. Noe, 2001. "Systemic Risk in Financial Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(2), pages 236-249, February.
  17. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  18. Wagner, W.B., 2006. "Diversification at Financial Institutions and Systemic Crises," Discussion Paper 2006-71, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  19. Iori, Giulia & Jafarey, Saqib & Padilla, Francisco G., 2006. "Systemic risk on the interbank market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 525-542, December.
  20. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2010. "Risk and Global Economic Architecture: Why Full Financial Integration May Be Undesirable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 388-92, May.
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