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Xavier Freixas

1 August 2001
While domestic interbank markets are often considered to work in an efficient way, cross-country bank lending appears to be subjected to market imperfections leading to persistent interest rate differentials. In a model where banks need to cope with liquidity shocks by borrowing or by liquidating assets, we study the scope for international interbank market integration with unsecured lending when cross-country information is noisy. We find that an equilibrium with integrated markets need not always exist, and that it coexists with one characterized by segmentation. A repo market reduces interest rate spreads and improves upon the segmentation equilibrium. However, it may destroy the unsecured integrated equilibrium.
JEL Code
G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets
G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General
F36 : International Economics→International Finance→Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
23 December 2003
The classical Bagehot's conception of a Lender of Last Resort (LOLR) that lends to illiquid banks has been criticized on two grounds: on the one hand, the distinction between insolvency and illiquidity is not clear cut; on the other a fully collateralized repo market allows Central Banks to provide the adequate aggregated amount of liquidity and leave the responsibility of lending uncollateralized to the banks. The object of this paper is to analyze rigorously these issues by providing a framework where liquidity shocks cannot be distinguished from solvency ones and ask whether there is a need for a LOLR and how should it operate. Determining the optimal LOLR policy requires a careful modeling of the structure of the interbank market and of the closure policy. In our set up, the results depend upon the existence of moral hazard. If the main source of moral hazard is the banks' lack of incentives to screen loans, then the LOLR may have to intervene to improve the efficiency of an unsecured interbank market; if instead, the main source of moral hazard is loans monitoring, then the interbank market should be secured and the LOLR should never intervene.
JEL Code
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation