Liquidity Squeeze, Abundant Funding and Macroeconomic Volatility

BIS Working Papers  |  No 498  | 
24 March 2015

This paper studies the choice between building liquidity buffers and raising funding ex post, to deal with liquidity shocks. We uncover the possibility of an inefficient liquidity squeeze equilibrium. Agents typically choose to build smaller liquidity buffers when they expect cheap funding. However, when agents hold smaller liquidity buffers, they can raise less funding because of limited pledgeability, which in the aggregate depresses the funding cost. This incentive structure yields multiple equilibria, one being an inefficient liquidity squeeze equilibrium where agents do not build any liquidity buffer. Comparative statics show that this inefficient equilibrium is more likely when the supply of funding is large, and/or when aggregate shocks display low volatility. Last, the effectiveness of policy options to restore efficiency is limited because the net gain to intervention decreases with the availability of funding. In other words, policy becomes ineffective when the equilibrium becomes inefficient.

JEL classification: D53, D82, D86

Keywords: Liquidity, Monetary Policy, Pledgeable Income, Reinvestment, Self-Insurance