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Title: Essays on financial intermediation, stability, and regulation
Author: Kotak, Akshay
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 9067
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Modern banking theories provide a host of explanations for the existence of intermediaries, highlight their important influence on economic growth, delineate the risks inherent in the services they provide, and illustrate the market failures and real costs of bank failures that precipitate the need for regulation and oversight of the sector. This thesis is a collection of three essays that looks at three of these key aspects of financial intermediaries - the development of financial intermediaries, the function of the lender of last resort that has emerged as an important part of the safety net afforded to financial intermediaries, and the occurrence of financial crises. The first chapter of this thesis provides an introduction to the academic literature on financial intermediation covering different theories put forward to explain their emergence, and highlighting the risks inherent in their operation. It emphasizes the crucial functions they perform in the economy and makes a case for regulation and oversight of the sector to reduce the incidence and alleviate the effects of financial crises. The second chapter seeks to determine the policy and institutional factors that influence the development of financial institutions as measured across three dimensions - depth, efficiency, and stability. Applying the concept of the financial possibility frontier, developed by Beck and Feyen (2013) and formalized by Barajas et al. (2013b), we determine key policy variables affecting the gap between actual levels of development and benchmarks predicted by structural variables. Our dynamic panel estimation shows that inflation, trade openness, institutional quality, and banking crises significantly affect financial development. We also assess the impact of the policy variables across the different dimensions of development thereby identifying complementarities and potential trade-offs for policy makers. The third chapter models the role of the lender of last resort (LoLR) in a general equilibrium framework. We allow for heterogeneous agents and a risk-averse banking sector, and incorporate the frictions of endogenous default, liquidity, and money. Adverse supply shocks in monetary endowments trigger default, leading to deterioration in the value of bank assets, and subsequent bank illiquidity in some states of the world. LoLR intervention is then assessed with regards to its economy-wide effect on welfare, bank profitability, and the level of default. The results provide a justification for constructive ambiguity. The fourth chapter aims to provide an explanation for the incidence of financial crises by combining insights from agency theory and Minsky's financial instability hypothesis (Minsky, 1992) in a model with endogenous default. Our theoretical model shows that the probability of a financial crisis increases as the quality of shareholder information decreases. We then develop a measure for the quality of shareholder information following Simon (1989) and show that the market-wide quality of shareholder information: i) is poor (with no trend) in the Pre-SEC period (1840 to 1934); ii) improves substantially following the SEC reforms; and iii) gradually declines starting in the 1960s/70s until it is now back to pre-SEC levels. This matches up with the standard list of US financial crises (as in Reinhart and Rogoff 2009; Reinhart 2010) and supports our hypothesis that the likelihood of a financial crisis increases with deterioration in the quality of shareholder information.
Supervisor: Tsomocos, Dimitrios Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Intermediation (Finance)--Econometric models ; Economic stabilization ; Banks and banking ; Lenders of last resort