Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS)
Collective Moral Hazard and the Interbank Market
Levent Altinoglu and Joseph E. Stiglitz
The concentration of risk within financial system is considered to be a source of systemic instability. We propose a theory to explain the structure of the financial system and show how it alters the risk taking incentives of financial institutions. We build a model of portfolio choice and endogenous contracts in which the government optimally intervenes during crises. By issuing financial claims to other institutions, relatively risky institutions endogenously become large and interconnected. This structure enables institutions to share the risk of systemic crisis in a privately optimal way, but channels funds to relatively risky investments and creates incentives even for smaller institutions to take excessive risks. Constrained efficiency can be implemented with macroprudential regulation designed to limit the interconnectedness of risky institutions.
Accessible materials (.zip)
PDF: Full Paper
Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.