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Mark-to-market accounting and liquidity pricing

  • Allen, Franklin
  • Carletti, Elena

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.

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Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2006/17.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200617
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  1. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2003. "Financial Intermediaries and Markets," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-44, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena, 2006. "Credit risk transfer and contagion," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 89-111, January.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, 05.
  5. Dimitrios P Tsomocos & Xavier Freixas, 2004. "Books vs. Fair Value Accounting in Banking, and Intertemporal Smoothing," Economics Series Working Papers 2004-FE-13, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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