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Banks, Short Term Debt and Financial Crises: Theory, Policy Implications and Applications

41 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2000  

Douglas W. Diamond

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

Raghuram G. Rajan

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; International Monetary Fund (IMF); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2000

Abstract

Short-term borrowing has often been blamed for precipitating financial crises. We argue that while the empirical association between a financial institution's, or country's, short-term borrowing and susceptibility to crises may, in fact, exist, the direction of causality is often precisely the opposite to the one traditionally suggested by commentators. Institutions like banks that want to enhance their ability to provide liquidity and credit to difficult borrowers have to borrow short-term. Similarly countries that have poor disclosure rules and inadequate investor protections, have limited long-term debt capacity, and will find their borrowing becoming increasingly short-term as they finance illiquid investment. Thus it is the increasing illiquidity of the investment being financed (or the deteriorating credit quality of borrowers) that necessitates short-term financing, and causes the susceptibility to crises. In fact, once illiquid investments have been financed, rather than making the system more stable, a ban on short-term financing may precipitate a more severe crisis. Even a priori, a ban is not without adverse consequences: policy makers have to trade off the costs of decreased credit creation and investment against the benefits of greater stability. A ban on short-term debt often deals with symptoms rather than underlying causes.

JEL Classification: G21, E44, G33, G28

Suggested Citation

Diamond, Douglas W. and Rajan, Raghuram G., Banks, Short Term Debt and Financial Crises: Theory, Policy Implications and Applications (May 2000). CRSP Working Paper No. 518. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=232028 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.232028

Douglas W. Diamond (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/douglas.diamond/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Raghuram G. Rajan

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-4437 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
773-702-9299 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

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