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Banks, Short Term Debt and Financial Crises: Theory, Policy Implications and Applications."

  • DOUGLAS W. DIAMOND
  • RAGHURAM G. RAJAN

Short-term borrowing has often been blamed for precipitating financial crises. We argue that while the empirical association between a financial institution's, or country's, short-term borrowing and susceptibility to crises may, in fact, exist, the direction of causality is often precisely the opposite to the one traditionally suggested by commentators. Institutions like banks that want to enhance their ability to provide liquidity and credit to difficult borrowers have to borrow short-term. Similarly countries that have poor disclosure rules and inadequate investor protections, have limited long-term debt capacity, and will find their borrowing becoming increasingly short-term as they finance illiquid investment. Thus it is the increasing illiquidity of the investment being financed (or the deteriorating credit quality of borrowers) that necessitates short-term financing, and causes the susceptibility to crises. In fact, once illiquid investments have been financed, rather than making the system more stable, a ban on short-term financing may precipitate a more severe crisis. Even a priori, a ban is not without adverse consequences policy makers have to trade off the costs of decreased credit creation and investment against the benefits of greater stability. A ban on short-term debt often deals with symptoms rather than underlying causes.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago in its series CRSP working papers with number 518.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:chispw:518
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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Which Capitalism? Lessons from the East Asian Crisis," CRSP working papers 486, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
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  3. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  4. Anil K. Kashyap & Raghuram Rajan & Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Banks as Liquidity Providers: An Explanation for the Coexistence of Lending and Deposit-Taking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 33-73, 02.
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  8. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1999. "A Theory of Bank Capital," NBER Working Papers 7431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Timothy D. Lane & Marianne Schulze-Gattas & T. M. Tsikata & Steven Phillips & Atish R. Ghosh & A. Javier Hamann, 1999. "IMF-Supported Programs in Indonesia, Korea and Thailand," IMF Occasional Papers 178, International Monetary Fund.
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  22. Diamond, Douglas-W, 2001. "Should Japanese Banks Be Recapitalized?," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(2), pages 1-19, May.
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  24. Jeanne, Olivier, 2000. "Foreign currency debt and the global financial architecture," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 719-727, May.
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