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Excess liquidity and monetary overhangs


  • Caprio, Gerard
  • Honohan, Patrick


The term"excess liquidity"may refer to the share of liquid assets in bank portfolios (the result of a retrenchment in bank lending, or a"credit crunch") or to money holdings of the nonbank public. Excess liquidity may be voluntary or nonvoluntary. In response to excess liquidity, policymakers tend to take steps to drain off the excess so it will not lead to a surge in inflation. In this paper, the authors examine the appropriateness of conventional policy instruments for tightening money in two common cases: 1) when there is a voluntary credit crunch because of a rise in perceived risk of default, and 2) when individuals rationed in the goods market in reforming socialist economies accumulate savings involuntarily ("money overhang"). The authors conclude that neither excess liquidity in the banking systems of the developing world nor the money overhang of the reforming planned economies calls for a response of restrictive monetary policy. A more appropriate policy might be a prudent but not overly restrictive monetary policy and reservation of some part of credit for the emerging private sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Caprio, Gerard & Honohan, Patrick, 1991. "Excess liquidity and monetary overhangs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 796, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:796

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
    2. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    3. Barro, Robert J & Grossman, Herschel I, 1971. "A General Disequilibrium Model of Income and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 82-93, March.
    4. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Schaechter, 2001. "Implementation of Monetary Policy and the Central Bank's Balance Sheet," IMF Working Papers 01/149, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Fran├žois-Seck Fall, 2017. "Determinants of Microfinance institutions' access to bank credit in Senegal," Post-Print hal-01538412, HAL.
    3. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-16-00828 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Khemraj, Tarron & Primus, Keyra, 2013. "Testing for the Credit Crunch in Trinidad and Tobago Using an Alternative Method," MPRA Paper 47372, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Financial Intermediation; Fiscal&Monetary Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation


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