Discussion paper

DP9508 Reputational Contagion and Optimal Regulatory Forbearance

Existing studies suggest that systemic crises may arise because banks either hold correlated assets, or are connected by interbank lending. This paper shows that common regulation is also a conduit for interbank contagion. One bank?s failure may undermine confidence in the banking regulator?s competence, and, hence, in other banks chartered by the same regulator. As a result, depositors withdraw funds from otherwise unconnected banks. The optimal regulatory response to this behaviour can be privately to exhibit forbearance to a failing bank. We show that regulatory transparency improves confidence ex ante but impedes regulators? ability to stem panics ex post.


Morrison, A and L White (2013), ‘DP9508 Reputational Contagion and Optimal Regulatory Forbearance‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 9508. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp9508