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Mark-to-market accounting and liquidity pricing

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  • Allen, Franklin
  • Carletti, Elena

Abstract

When liquidity plays an important role as in times of financial crisis, asset prices in some markets may reflect the amount of liquidity available in the market rather than the future earning power of the asset. Mark-to-market accounting is not a desirable way to assess the solvency of a financial institution in such circumstances. We show that a shock in the insurance sector can cause the current value of banks' assets to be less than the current value of their liabilities so the banks are insolvent. In contrast, if historic cost accounting is used, banks are allowed to continue and can meet all their future liabilities. Mark-to-market accounting can thus lead to contagion where none would occur with historic cost accounting.

Suggested Citation

  • Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena, 2006. "Mark-to-market accounting and liquidity pricing," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/17, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200617
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Optimal Financial Crises," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1245-1284, August.
    2. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2004. "Financial Intermediaries and Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1023-1061, July.
    3. Guillaume Plantin & Haresh Sapra & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Marking-to-Market: Panacea or Pandora's Box?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 435-460, May.
    4. Xavier Freixas & Dimitrios P. Tsomocos, 2004. "Book vs. Fair Value Accounting in Banking, and Intertemporal Smoothing," OFRC Working Papers Series 2004fe13, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
    5. Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena, 2006. "Credit risk transfer and contagion," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 89-111, January.
    6. Bagehot, Walter, 1873. "Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number bagehot1873.
    7. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2005. "From Cash-in-the-Market Pricing to Financial Fragility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 535-546, 04/05.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mark-to-market; Historical Cost; Incomplete Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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