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Liquidity, Contagion and Financial Crisis

  • Guembel, Alexander
  • Sussman, Oren

We develop a theoretical model where a redistribution of bank capital (e.g., due to reckless trading and/or faulty risk management) leads to a “freeze” of the interbank market. The fire-sale market plays a central role in spreading the crisis to the real economy. In crisis, credit rationing and liquidity hoarding appear simultaneously; endogenous levels of collateral (or margin requirements) are affected by both low fire-sale prices and high lending rates. Relative to previous analysis, this dual channel generates a stronger price and output effect. The main focus is on the policy analysis. We show that i) non-discriminating equity injections are more effective than liquidity injections, but in both the welfare effect is an order-of-magnitude lower than the price effect; ii) a discriminating policy that bails out only distressed banks is feasible but will be limited by incentive-compatibility constraints; iii) a restriction on international capital flows has an ambiguous effect on welfare.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 10-240.

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Date of creation: 25 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:24590
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