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Financial Institutions, Financial Contagion, and Financial Crises

  • Haizhou Huang
  • Chenggang Xu

This paper endogenizes financial contagion and financial crises from financial institutions. We show that financial crises can emanate from financial institutions which generate soft-budget constraints (SBC). The prevailing SBC in an economy distort in-formation such that the interbank lending market faces a "lemon" problem. The lemon problem in the lending market may contribute to bank-run contagions and can lead to the collapse of the lending market while inducing a run on the economy. Moreover, due to the lemon problem in the financial system, a rational government policy in this economy will lead to a SBC trap that all the illiquid banks are to be bailed out. In comparison, we show that an economy with a predominance of diversified financial institutions will be featured by hard-budget constraints. From this point, we show mechanisms that in this economy firms disclose timely information to the banks and to the financial market as a whole. Thus bank runs can be stopped, contagious risks contained and financial crisis prevented.

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Paper provided by Center for International Development at Harvard University in its series CID Working Papers with number 21.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wop:cidhav:21
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for International Development at Harvard University (CID). 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
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Web page: http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidwp/Email:


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  1. Haizhou Huang & Charles Goodhart, 1999. "A Model of the Lender of Last Resort," FMG Discussion Papers dp313, Financial Markets Group.
  2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," NBER Working Papers 4886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chang, R. & Velasco, A., 1998. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets: A Canonical Model," Working Papers 98-21, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1976. "Optimal Financial Crises," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-01, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1999. "What caused the Asian currency and financial crisis?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-373, October.
  6. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 1998. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 6606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2001. "Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation, and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 287-327, April.
  8. Chang, R. & Velasco, A., 1998. "Financial Fragility and the Exchange Rate Regime," Working Papers 98-05, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Dewatripont, M & Maskin, E, 1995. "Credit and Efficiency in Centralized and Decentralized Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 541-55, October.
  10. Steven Radelet & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "The East Asian Financial Crisis: Diagnosis, Remedies, Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 1-90.
  11. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Optimal Debt Structure and the Number of Creditors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 1-25, February.
  12. Bee Yan Aw & Sukkyun Chung & Mark J. Roberts, 1998. "Productivity and the Decision to Export: Micro Evidence from Taiwan and South Korea," NBER Working Papers 6558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Interbank lending and systemic risk," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 733-765.
  14. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  15. Xavier Freixas, 1999. "Optimal Bail Out Policy, Conditionality and Creative Ambiguity," FMG Discussion Papers dp327, Financial Markets Group.
  16. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  17. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Financial Contagion Journal of Political Economy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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