Crises and Liquidity in Over-the-Counter Markets

46 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2009 Last revised: 15 Aug 2010

See all articles by Ricardo Lagos

Ricardo Lagos

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

Gulasekaran Rajaguru

Bond University

Pierre-Olivier Weill

University of California, Los Angeles; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: October 2009


We study the efficiency of dealers' liquidity provision and the desirability of policy intervention in over-the-counter (OTC) markets during crises. Our theory emphasizes two key frictions in OTC markets: finding counterparties takes time, and trade is bilateral, with quantities and prices determined by bargaining. We model a crisis as a negative shock to investors' asset demands that lasts until a random recovery time. In this context, dealers can provide liquidity to outside investors by acting as counterparties in trades and by accumulating asset inventories. We find that, when frictions are severe, even well capitalized dealers may not find it optimal to accumulate inventories, given that investors choose asset positions that require small reallocations. In such circumstances, the market allocative efficiency can increase if the government steps in, purchases private assets on its own account, and resells them when the economy recovers.

Suggested Citation

Lagos, Ricardo and Rajaguru, Gulasekaran and Weill, Pierre-Olivier, Crises and Liquidity in Over-the-Counter Markets (October 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15414. Available at SSRN:

Ricardo Lagos

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States
212-998-8937 (Phone)

Gulasekaran Rajaguru

Bond University ( email )

Gold Coast, QLD 4229

Pierre-Olivier Weill (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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