Discussion of “Evaluating Monetary Policy Operational Frameworks” by Ulrich Bindseil: remarks at the 2016 Economic Policy Symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Remarks at the 2016 Economic Policy Symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting
We consider a model in which banking is characterized by asset substitution moral hazard and managerial underprovision of effort in loan monitoring. The privately optimal bank leverage efficiently balances the benefit of debt in providing the discipline to ensure that the bank monitors its loans against the benefit of equity in attenuating asset-substitution moral hazard. However, when correlated bank failures impose significant social costs, regulators bail out bank creditors. Anticipation of this action generates multiple equilibria, including an equilibrium featuring systemic risk, in ...
Are bank shareholders enemies of regulators or a potential source of market discipline?
In moral hazard models, bank shareholders have incentives to transfer wealth from the deposit insurer--that is, maximize put option value--by pursuing riskier strategies. For safe banks with large charter value, however, the risk-taking incentive is outweighed by the possibility of losing charter value. Focusing on the relationship between book value, market value, and a risk measure, this paper develops a semi-parametric model for estimating the critical level of bank risk at which put option value starts to dominate charter value. From these estimates, we infer the extent to which the ...
Reducing moral hazard at the expense of market discipline: the effectiveness of double liability before and during the Great Depression
Prior to the Great Depression, regulators imposed double liability on bank shareholders to ensure financial stability and protect depositors. Under double liability, shareholders of failing banks lost their initial investment and had to pay up to the par value of the stock in order to compensate depositors. We examine whether double liability was effective at mitigating bank risks and providing a safety net for depositors before and during the Great Depression. We first develop a model that demonstrates two competing effects of double liability: a direct effect that constrains bank risk ...
Markov-Perfect Risk Sharing, Moral Hazard and Limited Commitment
We define, characterize and compute Markov-perfect risk-sharing contracts in a dynamic stochastic economy with endogenous asset accumulation and simultaneous limited commitment and moral hazard frictions. We prove that Markov-perfect insurance contracts preserve standard properties of optimal insurance with private information and are not more restrictive than a long-term contract with one-sided commitment. Markov-perfect contracts imply a determinate asset time-path and a non-degenerate long-run stationary wealth distribution. We show numerically that Markov-perfect contracts provide sizably ...
Optimal Long-Term Contracting with Learning
We introduce uncertainty into Holmstrom and Milgrom (1987) to study optimal long-term contracting with learning. In a dynamic relationship, the agent's shirking not only reduces current performance but also increases the agent's information rent due to the persistent belief manipulation effect. We characterize the optimal contract using the dynamic programming technique in which information rent is the unique state variable. In the optimal contract, the optimal effort is front-loaded and decreases stochastically over time. Furthermore, the optimal contract exhibits an option-like feature in ...
Introducing a Series on Large and Complex Banks
The chorus of criticism levied against mega-banks has, in some cases, outrun the research needed to back the criticism. To help the research catch up with the rhetoric, financial economists here at the New York Fed have engaged in a systematic study of the economics of large and complex banks and their resolution in the event of failure. The result of those efforts is a collection of eleven papers, each of which was subject to review (internal and external). The papers are now online in our Economic Policy Review. Today, we begin a two-week series of posts that present the key findings of ...
The Official Sector’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and Moral Hazard
Any time the Federal Reserve or the official sector more broadly provides support to the economy during a crisis, the intervention raises concerns related to moral hazard. Moral hazard can occur when market participants do not bear the negative consequences of the risks they take. This lack of consequences can encourage even greater risks, due to the expectation of future government help. In this post, we consider the potential for moral hazard stemming from the official sector’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and explain why moral hazard concerns were likely more severe in 2008.
On the Optimality of Differential Asset Taxation
How should a utilitarian government balance redistributive concerns with the need to provide incentives for business creation and investment? Should they tax business profits, the (risk-free) savings of owners, or some combination of both? To address this question, this paper presents a model in which the desirability of differential asset taxation emerges endogenously from the presence of agency frictions. I consider an environment in which entrepreneurs hire workers and rent capital to produce output subject to privately observed shocks and have the ability to both divert capital to private ...
The Optimal Taxation of Business Owners
Business owners in the United States are disproportionately represented among the very wealthy and are exposed to substantial idiosyncratic risk. Further, recent evidence indicates business income primarily reflects returns to the human (rather than financial) capital of the owner. Motivated by these facts, this paper characterizes the optimal taxation of income and wealth in an environment where business income depends jointly on innate ability, luck, and the accumulated past effort exerted by the owner. I show that in (constrained) efficient allocations, more productive entrepreneurs ...