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Systemic risk, coordination failures, and preparedness externalities: Applications to tax and accounting policy

David Hirshleifer (Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, California, USA)
Siew Hong Teoh (Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, California, USA)

Journal of Financial Economic Policy

ISSN: 1757-6385

Article publication date: 29 May 2009

792

Abstract

Purpose

Sometimes resources are badly employed because of coordination failures. Actions by decision makers that affect the likelihood of such failures are sometimes said to cause “systemic risk.” This paper seeks to consider the externality in the choice of ex ante risk management policies by individuals and firms, concerned with private risk, not with their contribution to systemic risk.

Design/methodology/approach

The implications for debates over fair value accounting are considered.

Findings

One consequence is that individuals and firms become overleveraged from a social viewpoint. The recent credit crisis exemplifies the importance of this problem. The US tax system taxes equity more heavily than debt, and therefore exacerbates the bias toward overleveraging. A possible solution is to reduce or eliminate taxation of corporate income and capital gains. Preparedness externalities can also cause firms to become too transparent, and thereby subject to financial runs.

Originality/value

The paper offers insights into systemic risk, coordination failures, and preparedness externalities, focusing on tax and accounting policy.

Keywords

Citation

Hirshleifer, D. and Hong Teoh, S. (2009), "Systemic risk, coordination failures, and preparedness externalities: Applications to tax and accounting policy", Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 128-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/17576380911010245

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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