Financial Innovation and Financial Fragility

48 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010

See all articles by Nicola Gennaioli

Nicola Gennaioli

Bocconi University - Department of Finance; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research

Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Robert W. Vishny

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 7, 2010

Abstract

We present a standard model of financial innovation, in which intermediaries engineer securities with cash flows that investors seek, but modify two assumptions. First, investors (and possibly intermediaries) neglect certain unlikely risks. Second, investors demand securities with safe cash flows. Financial intermediaries cater to these preferences and beliefs by engineering securities perceived to be safe but exposed to neglected risks. Because the risks are neglected, security issuance is excessive. As investors eventually recognize these risks, they fly back to safety of traditional securities and markets become fragile, even without leverage, precisely because the volume of new claims is excessive. Financial innovation can make both investors and intermediaries worse off. The model mimics several facts from recent historical experiences, and points to new avenues for financial reform.

Keywords: Financial Innovation, Financial Fragility, Securities, Risks

JEL Classification: G, G11, G15, G2

Suggested Citation

Gennaioli, Nicola and Shleifer, Andrei and Vishny, Robert W., Financial Innovation and Financial Fragility (October 7, 2010). FEEM Working Paper No. 114.2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1688940 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1688940

Nicola Gennaioli

Bocconi University - Department of Finance ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milano, MI 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Andrei Shleifer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5046 (Phone)
617-496-1708 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/~ashleife/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Robert W. Vishny

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
312-702-2522 (Phone)
312-702-0118 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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