Are Banks Too Big to Fail or Too Big to Save? International Evidence from Equity Prices and CDS Spreads

European Banking Center Discussion Paper No. 2010-15

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2010-59

52 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2010 Last revised: 13 Feb 2011

See all articles by Asli Demirgüç-Kunt

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt

World Bank

Harry Huizinga

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2, 2010

Abstract

Deteriorating public finances around the world raise doubts about countries’ abilities to bail out their largest banks. For an international sample of banks, this paper investigates the impact of government indebtedness and deficits on bank stock prices and CDS spreads. Overall, bank stock prices reflect a negative capitalization of government debt and they respond negatively to deficits. We present evidence that in 2008 systemically large banks saw a reduction in their market valuation in countries running large fiscal deficits. Furthermore, the change in bank CDS spreads in 2008 relative to 2007 reflects countries’ deterioration of public deficits. Our results suggest that some systemically important banks can increase their value by downsizing or splitting up, as they have become too big to save, potentially reversing the trend to ever larger banks. We also document that a smaller proportion of banks are systemically important - relative to GDP - in 2008 than in the two previous years, which could reflect these private incentives to downsize.

Keywords: Banking, Financial crisis, Credit default swap, Too big to fail, Too big to save

JEL Classification: G21, G28

Suggested Citation

Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli and Huizinga, Harry, Are Banks Too Big to Fail or Too Big to Save? International Evidence from Equity Prices and CDS Spreads (January 2, 2010). European Banking Center Discussion Paper No. 2010-15, CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2010-59, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1626132 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1626132

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Harry Huizinga

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER) ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2623 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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