Networks, Asset Pricing, and Financial Intermediation.
Regulating Financial Networks: A Flying Blind Problem [PDF, September 8 2020]
Lack of detailed information, together with opaque and complex interactions among financial institutions, besets their regulation. This paper develops a tractable framework to study the problem faced by a network-conscious regulator when designing interventions in face of uncertainty about the susceptibility of the economy to contagion. With this framework in hand, I show how optimal interventions depend on a delicate balance between the network architecture and the knowledge available to regulators.
Regulating Financial Networks Under Uncertainty [PDF, October 21 2019]
I study the problem of regulating a network of interdependent financial institutions that is prone to contagion when there is uncertainty regarding its precise structure. I show that such uncertainty reduces the scope for welfare-improving interventions. While improving network transparency potentially reduces this uncertainty, it does not always lead to welfare improvements. Under certain conditions, regulation that reduces the risk-taking incentives of a small set of institutions can improve welfare. The size and composition of such a set crucially depend on the interplay between (i) the (expected) susceptibility of the network to contagion, (ii) the cost of improving network transparency, (iii) the cost of regulating institutions, and (iv) investors' preferences.
Changes in the propagation of idiosyncratic shocks along firm networks are important to understanding variations in asset returns. When calibrated to match key features of supplier-customer networks in the United States, an equilibrium model in which investors have recursive preferences and firms are interlinked via enduring relationships generates long-run consumption risks. Additionally, the model matches cross-sectional patterns of portfolio returns sorted by network centrality, a feature unaccounted for by standard asset pricing models.
Our goal is to elucidate the interaction of banks’ screening effort and strategic information production in loan-backed asset markets using a general equilibrium framework. Asset quality is unobserved by investors, but banks may purchase error-prone ratings. The premium paid on highly rated assets emerges as the main determinant of banks’ screening effort. The fact that rating strategies reflect banks’ private information about asset quality helps keep this premium high. Conventional regulatory policies interfere with this decision margin, thereby reducing signaling value of high ratings and exacerbating the credit misallocation problem. We propose a tax/subsidy scheme that induces efficiency.