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Diversification and systemic risk

Louis Raffestin

Journal of Banking & Finance, 2014, vol. 46, issue C, 85-106

Abstract: Portfolio diversification makes investors individually safer but creates connections between them through common asset holdings. Such connections create “endogenous covariances” between assets and investors, and enhance systemic risk by propagating shocks swiftly through the system. We provide a theoretical model in which shocks spread through constrained selling from N diversified portfolio investors in a network of asset holdings with home bias, and study the desirability of diversification by comparing the multivariate distribution of implied losses for every level of diversification. There may be a region on the parameter set for which the propagation effect dominates the individually safer one. We derive analytically the general element of the covariance between two assets i and j. We find agents may minimize their exposure to endogenous risk by spreading their wealth across more and more distant assets. The resulting network enhances systemic stability.

Keywords: Systemic risk; Diversification; Circulant network; Circulant matrix; Fire sales (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G11 G12 C65 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:46:y:2014:i:c:p:85-106