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What can Islamic financing tell us about macro-prudential policies?

Katherine A. Smith

Applied Economics Letters, 2019, vol. 26, issue 1, 27-31

Abstract: Macro-prudential policies are theoretically effective at mitigating a debt deflation crisis by forcing individuals to internalize their impact on aggregate prices reducing systemic risk caused by pecuniary externalities. To better understand the potential effectiveness of a macro-prudential time varying tax/subsidy on debt/dividends, we empirically estimate the impact of an Islamic financing presence on financial crises. Adherence to Islamic financing principles for a nontrivial portion of a country’s population has similar impacts to a macro-prudential policy in that these limited asset holders are likely to hold less debt or use debt-like instruments rather than conventional debt, driving down their marginal rate of substitution and the price of equity in equilibrium. To empirically estimate the effects of this policy, we interact an Islamic financing variable with debt in an otherwise standard model of financial crises. The results show that this macro-prudential-like policy decreases the likelihood of a banking crisis by 50%. The contribution of the article is twofold. First, we show that an Islamic finance presence encourages precautionary savings like a macro-prudential policy. Second, using an Islamic finance presence to capture macro-prudential potential effects, we find empirically that the likelihood of banking crises are cut roughly by half when such policies are in effect.

Date: 2019
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