Asymmetric information: the multiplier effect of financial instability
Financial markets and financial intermediation are essential to well-functioning economy. They perform the role of channeling funds to parties that have value creating investment opportunities. However, asymmetric information can seriously impair the process when parties to the financial contract are not fully aware of the risks involved and, as a result, can limit their exposure to financial agreements to prevent themselves from possible losses. Increasing asymmetric information as we explain in the article has a tendency to bring a ripple effect in the financial system. This negative money multiplier then sets the stage until it severely hampers money supply, productive investment opportunities and finally aggregate economic activity. The article introduces the reader with the framework of asymmetric information developed by several authors in the last few decades and builds on the recent financial developments that pose new challenges.