Too Big to Rush

28 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2015 Last revised: 1 Oct 2021

See all articles by Deniz Okat

Deniz Okat

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST)

Date Written: November 9, 2015


A sudden need for liquidity prompts banks to sell their assets at a discount to obtain cash. This sale disturbs the economy and slows down growth because the buyers of the assets reduce their investments in positive NPV projects. Small banks do not internalize their own impact on prices, which encourages them to start a fire sale too early. A (relatively) small probability of a liquidity shock might trigger a fire sale, causing a real crisis. Big banks internalize their own price impact, which reduces the severity of a crisis. Their sale decision is more in line with that of the social planner because they are too big to rush to sell their assets.

Keywords: Liquidity, crisis, fire sale externalities, bank competition

JEL Classification: D53, D62, E41, G01, G21

Suggested Citation

Okat, Deniz, Too Big to Rush (November 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Deniz Okat (Contact Author)

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) ( email )

Clearwater Bay
Kowloon, 999999
Hong Kong

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