Foundations of System-Wide Financial Stress Testing with Heterogeneous Institutions
83 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020 Last revised: 1 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 15, 2020
We propose a structural framework for the development of system-wide financial stress tests with multiple interacting contagion, amplification channels and heterogeneous financial institutions. This framework conceptualises financial systems through the lens of five building blocks: financial institutions, contracts, markets, constraints, and behaviour. Using this framework, we implement a system-wide stress test for the European financial system. We obtain three key findings. First, the financial system may be stable or unstable for a given microprudential stress test outcome, depending on the system’s shock-amplifying tendency. Second, the ‘usability’ of banks’ capital buffers (the willingness of banks to use buffers to absorb losses) is of great consequence to systemic resilience. Third, there is a risk that the size of capital buffers needed to limit systemic risk could be severely underestimated if calibrated in the absence of system-wide approaches.
Keywords: Systemic risk, stress testing, financial contagion, financial institutions, capital requirements, macroprudential policy
JEL Classification: G17, G21, G23, G28, C63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation