Anticipated Financial Contagion

67 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2022

See all articles by Toni Ahnert

Toni Ahnert

European Central Bank, Financial Research Division; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gideon du Rand

Stellenbosch University

Co-Pierre Georg

EDHEC Business School

Date Written: February 10, 2022


How likely is financial contagion when banks anticipate an aggregate liquidity shock and what are the consequences for bank choices, welfare, and regulation? We study an economy with two regional banks that insure risk-averse consumers against their idiosyncratic liquidity shocks and hold interbank deposits to co-insure against regional liquidity shocks. An aggregate liquidity shock hits one of the banks with positive probability and can lead to contagion---the mutual default of banks. We numerically characterize the equilibrium and show that contagion is rare: it occurs in approximately 5% of the parameter space and its ex-ante probability is below 1%. For likely aggregate liquidity shocks, the decentralized economy achieves the same expected utility as a global bank benchmark, which we fully characterize analytically. For less likely liquidity shocks, the economy is constrained inefficient. To shield themselves from contagion, banks hold inefficiently low interbank positions (co-insurance) and excessive liquidity (self-insurance). Efficiency is restored via an alternative bank resolution scheme.

Keywords: Demand deposits, interbank deposits, aggregate liquidity shock, financial contagion, computational equilibrium

JEL Classification: G01, G11, G21

Suggested Citation

Ahnert, Toni and du Rand, Gideon and Georg, Co-Pierre, Anticipated Financial Contagion (February 10, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Toni Ahnert

European Central Bank, Financial Research Division ( email )

ECB Tower
Sonnemannstraße 20
Frankfurt am Main


Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Gideon Du Rand

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Co-Pierre Georg (Contact Author)

EDHEC Business School ( email )

58 rue du Port
Lille, 59046

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