Discussion Paper

Can Discount Window Stigma Be Cured?

Abstract: One of the core responsibilities of central banks is to act as “lender of last resort” to the financial system. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve has been operating as a lender of last resort through its “discount window” (DW) for more than a century. Historically, however, the DW has been plagued by stigma—banks’ reluctance to use the DW, even for benign reasons, out of concerns that it could be interpreted as a sign of financial weakness. In this post, we report on new research showing that once a DW facility is stigmatized, removing that stigma is difficult.

Keywords: lender of last resort; discount window; stigma; laboratory experiments;

JEL Classification: E58; G01; C92;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2024-05-31

Number: 20240531