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A Model to Analyse Financial Fragility

Charles A.E. Goodhart: Bank of England, London School of Economics,  and Financial Market Group


Pojanart Sunirand: Bank of England and London School of Economics


Dimitrios P. Tsomocos: Bank of England, Said Business School  and St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, and  Financial Market Group


First Version: 24 April 2003

This Version: 28 September 2004


This paper sets out a tractable model which illuminates problems relating to individual bank behaviour, to possible contagious inter-relationships between banks, and to the appropriate design of prudential requirements and incentives to limit `excessive' risk-taking. Our model is rich enough to include heterogeneous agents, endogenous default, and multiple commodity, and credit and deposit markets. Yet, it is simple enough to be effectively computable and can therefore be used as a practical framework to analyse financial fragility. Financial fragility in our model emerges naturally as an equilibrium phenomenon. Among other results, a non-trivial quantity theory of money is derived, liquidity and default premia co-determine interest rates, and both regulatory and monetary policies have non-neutral effects. The model also indicates how monetary policy may affect financial fragility, thus highlighting the trade-off between financial stability and economic efficiency.

Keywords: Financial Fragility; Commerical Banks; General Equilibrium; Default; Incomplete Markets; Monetary Policy; Regulatory Policy


JEL Classification: D52, E4, E5, G11, G21.

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