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Financial Fragility, Liquidity and Asset Prices

  • Franklin Allen
  • Douglas Gale

A financial system is fragile if a small shock has a large effect. Sunspot equilibria, where the endogenous variables depend on extrinsic uncertainty, provide an extreme illustration. However, fundamental equilibria, where outcomes depend only on intrinsic uncertainty, can also be fragile. We study the relationship between sunspot equilibria and fundamental equilibria in a model of financial crises. The amount of liquidity is endogenously chosen and determines asset prices. The model has multiple equilibria, but only some of these are the limit of fundamental equilibria when the fundamental uncertainty becomes vanishingly small. We show that under certain conditions the only robust equilibria are those in which extrinsic uncertainty gives rise to asset price volatility and Þnancial crises.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania in its series Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers with number 01-37.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:01-37
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  1. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 2000. "Optimal currency crises," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 177-230, December.
  2. Peck, James & Shell, Karl, 2001. "Equilibrium Bank Runs," Working Papers 01-10r, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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  4. Piero Gottardi & Atsushi Kajii, . "Generic Existence of Sunspot Equilibria: The Case of real Assets," Penn CARESS Working Papers 4c2e0b92f85ceac3016cafb02, Penn Economics Department.
  5. Karl Shell & Aditya Goenka, 1996. "When sunspots don't matter (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 9(1), pages 169-178.
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  7. 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.
  8. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1999. "Macroeconomics of Self-fulfilling Prophecies, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262062038, December.
  9. Postlewaite, Andrew & Vives, Xavier, 1987. "Bank Runs as an Equilibrium Phenomenon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 485-91, June.
  10. Bruce Champ & Bruce D. Smith & Stephen D. Williamson, 1996. "Currency Elasticity and Banking Panics: Theory and Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 828-64, November.
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  12. Geanakoplos, John, 1990. "An introduction to general equilibrium with incomplete asset markets," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-38.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Neil Wallace, 1988. "Another attempt to explain an illiquid banking system: the Diamond and Dybvig model with sequential service taken seriously," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 3-16.
  16. Azariadis, Costas, 1981. "Self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 380-396, December.
  17. Hellwig, Martin, 1994. "Liquidity provision, banking, and the allocation of interest rate risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1363-1389, August.
  18. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  19. Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2002. "Theory of Incomplete Markets, Volume 1," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262632543, December.
  20. 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.
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  22. V.V. Chari & Ravi Jagannathan, 1984. "Banking Panics," Discussion Papers 618, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  23. 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.
  24. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2001. "Causes of U.S. bank distress during the depression," Proceedings 714, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  25. Jacklin, Charles J & Bhattacharya, Sudipto, 1988. "Distinguishing Panics and Information-Based Bank Runs: Welfare and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 568-92, June.
  26. Piero Gottardi & Atsushi Kajii, 1999. "The Structure of Sunspot Equilibria: The Role of Multiplicity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 713-732.
  27. Charles W. Calomiris & Gary Gorton, 1991. "The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 109-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Neil Wallace, 1990. "A banking model in which partial suspension is best," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 11-23.
  29. Alonso, Irasema, 1996. "On avoiding bank runs," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 73-87, February.
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