Were There Fire Sales in the RMBS Market?
Charles A. Dice Center Working Paper No. 2014-09
58 Pages Posted: 15 May 2014
Date Written: May 6, 2014
Many observers have argued that the fall in RMBS prices during the crisis was partly caused by fire sales. We provide an explanation for why financial institutions may have engaged in fire sales using a unique dataset of RMBS transactions for insurance companies. We show that risk-sensitive capital requirements and mark-to-market accounting can jointly create incentives for capital-constrained financial institutions to engage in fire sales of stressed securities because the increased risk can make it too expensive to hold such securities. Further, we find that, in general, RMBS prices behaved as would be expected in the presence of fire sales.
Keywords: Fire sale, RMBS, capital requirements, fair value, financial crisis
JEL Classification: G01, G21, G22, G23, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation