Contingent Contracts in Banking: Insurance or Risk Magnification?

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See all articles by Hans Gersbach

Hans Gersbach

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 24, 2018

Abstract

We examine whether the economy can be insured against banking crises with deposit and loan contracts contingent on macroeconomic shocks. We study banking competition and show that the private sector insures the banking system through such contracts, and banking crises are avoided, provided that failed banks are not bailed out. When risks are large, banks may shift part of them to depositors. In contrast, when banks are bailed out by the next generation, depositors receive non-contingent contracts with high interest rates, while entrepreneurs obtain loan contracts that demand high repayment in good times and low repayment in bad times. As a result, the present generation overinvests, and banks generate large macroeconomic risks for future generations, even if the underlying productivity risk is small or zero. We conclude that a joint policy package of orderly default procedures and contingent contracts is a promising way to reduce the threat of a fragile banking system.

Keywords: Financial intermediation, macroeconomic risks, state-contingent contracts, banking regulation

JEL Classification: D41, E4, G2

Suggested Citation

Gersbach, Hans, Contingent Contracts in Banking: Insurance or Risk Magnification? (November 24, 2018). CFS Working Paper, No. 612, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Hans Gersbach (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 82 80 (Phone)
+41 44 632 18 30 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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