A New Perspective on the Finance-Development Nexus
The existing literature on financial development focuses mostly on the causal impact of the quantity of financial intermediation on economic development. This paper, instead, focuses on the role of the financial sector in creating securities that cater to the needs of heterogeneous investors. To that end, we describe a dynamic extension of Allen and Gale (1989)?s optimal security design model in which producers can tranche the stochastic cash flows they generate at a cost. Lower tranching costs in that environment lead to capital deepening and raise aggregate output. The implications of lower ...
On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises
The authors seek to measure the potential benefit of reducing the likelihood of economic crises (defined as Depression-style collapses of economic activity). Based on the observed frequency of Depression-like events, they estimate this likelihood to be approximately one in every 83 years for the U.S. The welfare gain of reducing even this small probability of crisis to zero can range between 1.05 percent and 6.59 percent of annual consumption in perpetuity. These large gains occur because although the probability of entering a Depression-like state is small, once the state is entered it is ...
Financial collapse and active monetary policy: a lesson from the Great Depression
We analyze financial collapses, such as the one that occurred during the U.S. Great Depression, from the perspective of a monetary model with multiple equilibria. The multiplicity arises from the presence of a strategic complementarity due to increasing returns to scale in the intermediation process. Intermediaries provide the link between savers and firms who require working capital for production. Fluctuations in the intermediation process are driven by variations in the confidence agents place in the financial system. From a positive perspective, our model matches closely the qualitative ...
Rising Bank Concentration
Concentration of insured deposit funding among the top four commercial banks in the U.S. has risen from 15% in 1984 to 44% in 2018, a roughly three-fold increase. Regulation has often been attributed as a factor in that increase. The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 removed many of the restrictions on opening bank branches across state lines. We interpret the Riegle-Neal act as lowering the cost of expanding a bank's funding base. In this paper, we build an industry equilibrium model in which banks endogenously climb a funding base ladder. Rising ...
Financial Engineering and Economic Development
The vast literature on financial development focuses mostly on the causal impact of the quantity of financial intermediation on economic development and productivity. This paper, instead, focuses on the role of the financial sector in creating securities that cater to the needs of heterogeneous investors. We describe a dynamic extension of Allen and Gale (1989)?s optimal security design model in which producers can tranche the stochastic cash flows they generate at a cost. Lowering security creation costs in that environment leads to more financial investment, but it has ambiguous effects on ...
Endogenous realignments and the sustainability of a target
We examine the effects of endogenously determined realignment expectations in a model of a target zone with sluggish price adjustment. We allow these expectations to be based on a policy rule that generates an increasing probability of realignment as output moves away from full employment. We find that for realistic parameter values, even relatively small misalignments of the currency band lead to strongly skewed conditional distributions for the nominal exchange rate, thus generating pressures for realignment. We show that the reason for this is that the speed of adjustment in the absence of ...
On the welfare gains of eliminating a small likelihood of economic crises: A case for stabilization policies?
In this paper the authors estimate the potential benefit of policies that eliminate a small likelihood of economic crises. They define an economic crisis as a Depression-style collapse of economic activity. For the U.S., based on the observed frequency of Depression-like events, the authors estimate the likelihood of encountering a depression to be about once every 83 years. Even for this small probability of moving into a Depression-like state, the welfare gain from setting it to zero can range between 1 and 7 percent of annual consumption, in perpetuity. These estimates are large in ...
A welfare comparison of pre- and post-WWII business cycles: some implications for the role of postwar macroeconomic policies
The authors compute the potential economic benefits that would accrue to a typical pre-WWII era U.S. worker from the post-WWII macroeconomic policy regime. The authors assume that workers face undiversifiable income risk but can self-insure by saving in nominal assets. The worker's average utility is computed for two eras: pre-WWII (1875-1941) and post-WWII. In the pre-WWII era, the worker endured business cycles that were large in amplitude and quite volatile, a procyclical aggregate price level with large cyclical amplitude, a high average unemployment rate, and virtually no trend in the ...
Capital requirements in a quantitative model of banking industry dynamics
We develop a model of banking industry dynamics to study the quantitative impact of capital requirements on bank risk taking, commercial bank failure, and market structure. We propose a market structure where big, dominant banks interact with small, competitive fringe banks. Banks accumulate securities like Treasury bills and undertake short-term borrowing when there are cash flow shortfalls. A nontrivial size distribution of banks arises out of endogenous entry and exit, as well as banks? buffer stocks of securities. We test the model using business cycle properties and the bank lending ...
Monetary and financial forces in the Great Depression
What caused the worldwide collapse in output from 1929 to 1933? Why was the recovery from the trough of 1933 so protracted for the U.S.? How costly was the decline in terms of welfare? Was the decline preventable? These are some of the questions that have motivated economists to study the Great Depression. In this paper, the authors review some of the economic literature that attempts to answer these questions.