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Shadow Funding Costs: Measuring the Cost of Balance Sheet Constraints

Matthias Fleckenstein, Francis A. Longstaff

NBER Working Paper No. 24224
Issued in January 2018
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing Program

Recent theory suggests that balance sheet frictions and constraints faced by financial intermediaries can have major asset pricing implications. We propose a new measure of the impact of these constraints on intermediary funding costs that is based on the implied cost of renting intermediary balance sheet space. On average, balance sheet constraints add 81 basis points to intermediary funding costs, but the impact often exceeds 200 basis points during a crisis. We find that these balance sheet costs have real effects on intermediary investment decisions and asset holdings. Increases in balance sheet costs are associated with short-term increases in the use of derivatives, but longer-term declines in risk-taking by financial institutions. Balance sheet costs introduce a wedge between on- and off-balance-sheet investments which may help resolve a number of asset pricing puzzles.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24224

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