Liquidity and Leverage - Why Banks? [Audio]


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Speaker(s): Professor Raghuram Rajan | Lionel Robbins was one of the outstanding men of his time; economist, public servant and supporter of the arts. The lectures, which were established in his name, take place each year and are a major event in the life of the School, featuring eminent economists from around the world. This year Raghuram Rajan, the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth will deliver the Lionel Robbins Lectures. A bank's issuance of short-term demandable or overnight claims in order to finance illiquid loans leads to panics. Since the dawn of banking in Assyria and Sumeria, long before we had central banks, deposit insurance, or a tax advantage to debt, banks have had this structure, and critics have been troubled by it, as they are today. Professor Rajan will argue that this structure of banks - financing illiquid loans with short term or demandable debt - is not just a bug in the system, it is also a feature. This lecture will focus on why banks have the structure they have - long term illiquid assets financed by short term runnable liabilities. It will explain why the risk of runs is inherent in the business of banking and cannot be eliminated without impinging on that business. Raghuram Rajan was the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India between September 2013 and September 2016. Between 2003 and 2006, Dr. Rajan was the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund. The second of this years Lionel Robbins Lectures will take place on Tuesday 12 March. Established at LSE in 1990 CEP is one of Europe's leading economic research centres. It addresses three related questions: How to foster growth? How to share growth? How to make growth sustainable?

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