Deregulation Gone Awry: Moral Hazard in the Savings and Loan Industry
Rebel A. Cole
DePaul University - Driehaus College of Business
Government of the United States of America - Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB)
Lawrence J. White
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics
This article tests several hypotheses concerning the failure of thrift institutions and the costs these failures imposed upon the thrift deposit insurance fund. The central hypothesis posits that thrift failures during the 1986-1989 period were largely a function of portfolio decisions made by thrift managers during the mid-1980s, which, in turn, were strongly influenced by the structural characteristics of these thrifts in the early 1980s. A sample of 1,654 healthy thrifts and 621 failed or soon-to-fail thrifts for which consistent official estimates of the cost of liquidation were available from the FSLIC is analyzed using a variation of the technique suggested by Heckman (1979) to correct for sample-selectivity bias. The results provide strong support for the central hypothesis, demonstrating that these portfolio choices and structural characteristics are strong determinants of the likelihood and cost of failure, and that the structural characteristics strongly influence the subsequent portfolio choices.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: deregulation, failure, moral hazard, S&L, thrift
JEL Classification: G21, G28
Date posted: November 3, 2008
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