has a nice exposition of the tradeoffs:
An unwillingness to guarantee all the deposits would satisfy the desire to penalize businesses and banks for their mistakes, limit moral hazard, and limit the fiscal liabilities of the public sector. ...
Once depositors are allowed to take losses, both individuals and institutions will adjust their deposit behavior, and they probably would do so relatively quickly. Smaller banks would receive many fewer deposits, and the giant “too big to fail” banks, such as JP Morgan, would receive many more deposits. ...
In essence, we would end up centralizing much of our American and foreign capital in our “too big to fail” banks. That would make them all the more too big to fail. It also might boost financial sector concentration in undesirable ways.
Update from the Economist:
The risk that providing insurance might alter the behaviour of those being insured. Homeowners or car drivers may take more risks if they know that an insurance company will cover their losses. This is also a problem for central banks when they act as a lender of last resort for banks; knowing they will be rescued in a crisis, bank executives may take more risks and investors may be less choosy about the banks with which they do business.
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