Credit Freezes, Equilibrium Multiplicity, and Optimal Bailouts in Financial Networks
50 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 22, 2020
We analyze how interdependencies between organizations in financial networks can lead to multiple possible equilibrium outcomes. A multiplicity arises if and only if there exists a certain type of dependency cycle in the network that allows for self-fulfilling chains of defaults. We provide necessary and sufficient conditions for banks' solvency in any equilibrium. Building on these conditions, we characterize the minimum bailout payments needed to ensure systemic solvency, as well as how solvency can be ensured by guaranteeing a specific set of debt payments. Bailout injections needed to eliminate self-fulfilling cycles of defaults (credit freezes) are fully recoverable, while those needed to prevent cascading defaults outside of cycles are not. We show that the minimum bailout problem is computationally hard, but provide an upper bound on optimal payments and show that the problem has intuitive solutions in specific network structures such as those with disjoint cycles or a core-periphery structure.
Keywords: Financial Networks, Markets, Systemic Risk, Financial Crisis, Networks, Banks, Credit Freeze, Default Risk, Financial Interdependencies
JEL Classification: D85, F15, F34, F36, F65, G15, G32, G33, G38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation