DP7674 | The lender of last resort: liquidity provision versus the possibility of bail-out

Publication Date

07/02/2010

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Abstract

Banking regulation has proven to be inadequate to guard systemic stability in the recent financial crisis. Central banks have provided liquidity and ministries of finance have set up rescue programmes to restore confidence and stability. Using a model of a systemic bank suffering from liquidity shocks, we find that the unregulated bank keeps too much liquidity and takes excessive risk compared to the social optimum. A Lender of Last Resort can alleviate the liquidity problem, but induces moral hazard. Therefore, we introduce a fiscal authority that is able to bail out the bank by injecting capital. This authority faces a trade-off: when it imposes strict bailout conditions, investment increases but moral hazard ensues. Milder bailout conditions reduce excessive risk taking at the expense of investment. This resembles the current situation on financial markets, in which banks take less risk but also provide less credit to the economy.