We demonstrate that the co-existence of different motives for liquidity preferences profoundly affects the efficiency of financial intermediation. Liquidity preferences arise because consumers wish to take precautions against sudden and unforeseen expenditure needs, and because investors want to speculate on future investment opportunities. Without further frictions, the co-existence of these motives enables banks to gain efficiencies from combining liquidity insurance and credit intermediation. With standard financial frictions, banks cannot reap such economies of scope. Indeed, the co-existence of a precautionary and a speculative motive can cause efficiency losses which would not occur if there were only a single motive. Specifically, if the arrival of profitable future investment opportunities is sufficiently likely, such co-existence implies inefficient separation, pooling, or even non-existence of pure strategy equilibria. This suggests that policy implications derived solely from a single motive for liquidity demand can be futile.
Systemic Risk Centre Discussion Papers DP 110
Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers DP 833