2019 Theses Doctoral
Essays on Banking and Financial Intermediation
I study financial intermediation and optimal regulation through the lens of banking theory and applied corporate finance. In my understanding, the theory on banking is primarily the theory on bank runs. And the key questions I have been pursuing to answer are the causes of runs in both the traditional and shadow banking sectors and the roles of the market and the regulator in maintaining financial stability.
I start with the shadow banking system outside the traditional regulatory framework, which accumulated tremendous risks and led to a major financial crisis. Why don’t we simply shut down the shadow banking sector? Chapter 1 examines the role of shadow banking and optimal shadow bank regulation by developing a bank run model featuring the tradeoff between financial innovation and systemic risk. In my model, the traditional banking sector is regulated such that it can credibly provide safe assets, while a shadow banking sector creates space for beneficial investment opportunities created by financial innovation but also provides regulatory arbitrage opportunities for non-innovative banks. Systemic risk arises from the negative externalities of asset liquidation in the shadow banking sector, which may lead to a self-fulfilling recession and costly government bailouts. Heavy regulatory punishment on systemically important shadow banks controls existing systemic risk and has a deterrent effect on its accumulation ex ante. My paper is the first to formalize the designation authority of a macro-prudential regulator in systemic risk regulation.
I then switch from the assets side to the liabilities side on the bank’s balance sheet. Chapter 2 introduces informed agents to the banking model and proposes a novel role of deposit insurance in fostering market discipline. While the moral hazard problem brought by deposit insurance weakens market discipline, I show that the opposite can
be true when the insurance stabilizes uninformed funding and increases the benefits of monitoring through information acquisition. Knowing the bank asset type, informed depositors utilize the demand deposits as a monitoring device and discipline the bank into holding good assets. However, self-fulfilling bank runs initiated by uninformed depositors erodes the future returns, inducing more depositors to forgo information acquisition and act like uninformed depositors. A novel role of deposit insurance emerges from the strategic complementarity between monitoring efforts and stability of uninformed funding. A capped deposit insurance, by stabilizing the retail funding of the bank, restores wholesale depositors’ monitoring incentives and benefits market discipline.
I examine the role of information in generating bank runs in Chapter 3, where I explore the relationship between redemption price and run risks in a model of money market fund industry. Money market funds compete with commercial banks by issuing demandable shares with stable redemption price, transforming risky assets into money-like claims outside the traditional banking sector. Floating net asset value (NAV) is widely believed a solution to money market fund runs by removing the first-mover advantages. In a coordination game model a la Angeletos and Werning (2006), I show that the floating net asset value, which allows investors to redeem shares at market-based price rather than book value, may lead to more self-fulfilling runs. Compared to stable net asset value, which becomes informative only when the regime is abandoned, the floating net asset value acts as a public noisy signal, coordinating investors’ behaviors and resulting in multiplicity. The destabilizing effect increases when investors’ capacity of acquiring private information is constrained. The model implications are consistent with a surge in the conversion from prime to government institutional funds in 2016, when the floating net asset value requirement on the former is the centerpiece of the money market fund reform.
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More About This Work
- Academic Units
- Thesis Advisors
- Bolton, Patrick
- Ph.D., Columbia University
- Published Here
- April 26, 2019