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Banks, Market Organization, and Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Analysis

This paper is an exploratory analysis of the role that banks play in supporting what Jevons called the "mechanism of exchange." It considers a model economy in which exchange activities are facilitated and coordinated by a self-organizing network of entrepreneurial trading firms. Collectively, these firms play the part of the Walrasian auctioneer, matching buyers with sellers and helping the economy to approximate equilibrium prices that no individual is able to calculate. Banks affect macroeconomic performance in this economy because their lending activities facilitate the entry and influence the exit decisions of trading firms. Both entry and exit have ambiguous effects on performance, and we resort to computational analysis to understand how they are resolved. Our analysis draws an important distinction between normal times and worst-case scenarios, in which the economy experiences systemic breakdowns. We show that banks provide a "financial stabilizer" that more than counteracts the familiar financial accelerator and that the stabilizing role of the banking system is particularly apparent in bad times. In line with this result, we also find that under less restrictive lending standards banks are able to more effectively improve macroeconomic performance in the worst-case scenarios.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/AshrafGershmanHowittBanks.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2011-03.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision: Nov 2015
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2011-03
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