A Theory of Slow-Moving Capital and Contagion

45 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2009  

Viral V. Acharya

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Hyun Song Shin

Bank for International Settlements

Tanju Yorulmazer

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

Fire sales that occur during crises beg the question of why sufficient outside capital does not move in quickly to take advantage of fire sales, or in other words, why outside capital is so slow-moving. We propose an answer to this puzzle in the context of an equilibrium model of capital allocation. Keeping capital in liquid form in anticipation of possible fire sales entails costs in terms of foregone profitable investments. Set against this, those same profitable investments are rendered illiquid in future due to agency problems embedded with expertise. We show that a robust consequence of this trade-off between making investments today and waiting for arbitrage opportunities in future is the combination of occasional fire sales and limited stand-by capital that moves in only if fire-sale discounts are sufficiently deep. An extension of our model to several types of investments gives rise to a novel channel for contagion where sufficiently adverse shocks to one type can induce fire sales in other types that are fundamentally unrelated, provided arbitrage activity in these investments is sourced from a common pool of capital.

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Viral V. and Shin, Hyun Song and Yorulmazer, Tanju, A Theory of Slow-Moving Capital and Contagion (February 2009). NYU Working Paper No. FIN-08-029. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1354516

Viral V. Acharya (Contact Author)

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

HOME PAGE: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~sternfin/vacharya/public_html/~vacharya.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

Hyun Song Shin

Bank for International Settlements ( email )

Centralbahnplatz 2
Basel, Basel-Stadt 4002
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.bis.org/author/hyun_song_shin.htm

Tanju Yorulmazer

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

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