Working Papers

January 2003, No. 03-1

Economic Growth, Liquidity, and Bank Runs

Huberto M. Ennis and Todd Keister

We construct an endogenous growth model in which bank runs occur with positive probability in equilibrium. In this setting, a bank run has a permanent effect on the levels of the capital stock and of output. In addition, the possibility of a run changes the portfolio choices of depositors and of banks, and thereby affects the long-run growth rate. These facts imply that both the occurrence of a run and the mere possibility of runs in a given period have a large impact on all future periods. A bank run in our model is triggered by sunspots, and we consider two different equilibrium selection rules. In the first, a run occurs with a fixed, exogenous probability, while in the second the probability of a run is influenced by banks' portfolio choices. We show that when the choices of an individual bank affect the probability of a run on that bank, the economy both grows faster and experiences fewer runs.

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