Economic research and stress testing
Remarks at the Fourth Annual Stress Test Modeling Symposium, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts.
Parting Reflections on the Series on Large and Complex Banks
The motivation for the Economic Policy Review series was to understand better the behavior of large and complex banks, and we have covered a lot of ground toward that end. We have examined large banks? economies of scale, their proclivity toward risk taking, their possible funding advantages (pre-Dodd Frank), the sources and types of their complexity, and the sources and means of dealer bank financing. We have also looked at resolution issues surrounding large and complex banks, including a case study on the Lehman bankruptcy, a review of resolution methods, and two studies of the rationale ...
Rollover risk as market discipline: a two-sided inefficiency
Why does the market discipline that financial intermediaries face seem too weak during booms and too strong during crises? This paper shows in a general equilibrium setting that rollover risk as a disciplining device is effective only if all intermediaries face purely idiosyncratic risk. However, if assets are correlated, a two-sided inefficiency arises: Good aggregate states have intermediaries taking excessive risks, while bad aggregate states suffer from costly fire sales. The driving force behind this inefficiency is an amplifying feedback loop between asset values and market discipline. ...
The Financial Origins of Non-Fundamental Risk
We formalize the idea that the financial sector can be a source of non-fundamental risk. Households' desire to hedge against price volatility can generate price volatility in equilibrium, even absent fundamental risk. Fearing that asset prices may fall, risk-averse households demand safe assets from leveraged intermediaries, whose issuance of safe assets exposes the economy to self-fulfilling fire sales. Policy can eliminate nonfundamental risk by (i) increasing the supply of publicly backed safe assets, through issuing government debt or bailing out intermediaries, or (ii) reducing the ...
Cournot Fire Sales
In standard Walrasian macro-finance models, pecuniary externalities due to fire sales lead to excessive borrowing and insufficient liquidity holdings. We investigate whether imperfect competition (Cournot) improves welfare through internalizing the externality and find that this is far from guaranteed. Cournot competition can overcorrect the inefficiently high borrowing in a standard model of levered real investment. In contrast, Cournot competition can exacerbate the inefficiently low liquidity in a standard model of financial portfolio choice. Implications for welfare and regulation are ...
Non-Bank Financial Institutions and Banks’ Fire-Sale Vulnerabilities
Banks carry significant exposures to nonbanks from direct dealings, but they can also be exposed, indirectly, through losses in asset values resulting from fire-sale events. We assess the vulnerability of U.S. banks to fire sales potentially originating from any of twelve separate nonbank segments and identify network-like externalities driven by the interconnectedness across nonbank types in terms of asset holdings. We document that such network externalities can contribute to very large multiples of an original fire sale, thus suggesting that conventional assessments of fire-sale ...
Magnifying the Risk of Fire Sales in the Tri-Party Repo Market
The fragility inherent in the tri-party repo market came to light during the 2008-09 financial crisis. One of the main vulnerabilities is the risk of fire sales, which can be enhanced by the response of some investors to stress events. Money market mutual funds (MMFs) and the agents investing cash collateral obtained from securities lending (SLs) are thought to behave, in times of stress, in ways that exacerbate fire-sale risks in the tri-party repo market. Based on detailed investor data, we find that MMFs and SLs constitute almost half of the investor market, making it crucial for tri-party ...
Financial Fire Sales: Evidence from Bank Failures
Theory suggests the reduction in financing capacity after the failure of a financial intermediary can reduce the value of financial assets. Forced sales of the intermediary's assets could consume liquidity, depressing the liquidation value of the assets of healthy intermediaries and causing contagious runs. These financial fire sales can both cause, and exacerbate, real fire sales, the focus of previous studies. This paper investigates the relevance of financial fire sales using new datasets covering bank failures during the farm depression in the United States just before the Great ...
Banking System Vulnerability: 2022 Update
To assess the vulnerability of the U.S. financial system, it is important to monitor leverage and funding risks—both individually and in tandem. In this post, we provide an update of four analytical models aimed at capturing different aspects of banking system vulnerability with data through 2022:Q2, assessing how these vulnerabilities have changed since last year. The four models were introduced in a Liberty Street Economics post in 2018 and have been updated annually since then.
Modern recipes for financial crises
Remarks at the University of Iowa, December 4, 2015.