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The good, the bad, and the ugly: An inquiry into the causes and nature of credit cycles

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  • Matsuyama, Kiminori

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Northwestern University)

Abstract

This paper builds models of nonlinear dynamics in the aggregate investment and borrower net worth to study the causes and nature of endogenous credit cycles. The basic model has two types of projects: the Good and the Bad. The Good projects rely on the inputs supplied by others who could undertake investment in the future, thereby improving their net worth. The Bad projects are independently profitable so that they do not improve the net worth of other borrowers. Furthermore, they are subject to the borrowing constraint due to some agency problems. With a low net worth, the agents cannot finance the Bad, and much of the credit goes to finance the Good, even when the Bad projects are more profitable than the Good projects. This over-investment to the Good creates a boom, leading to an improvement in borrower net worth. This makes it possible for the agents to finance the Bad. This shift in the composition of the credit from the Good to the Bad at the peak of the boom causes a deterioration of borrower net worth. The whole process repeats itself. Endogenous fluctuations occur, as the Good breed the Bad and the Bad destroy the Good. The model is then extended to add a third type of projects, the Ugly, which are unproductive but subject to no borrowing constraint. With a low net worth, the Good compete with the Ugly, which act as a drag on the Good, creating the credit multiplier effect. With a high net worth, the Good compete with the Bad, which destroy the Good, creating the credit reversal effect. By combining these two effects, this hybrid model generates intermittency phenomena, i.e., relatively long periods of small and persistent movements punctuated intermittently by seemingly random-looking behaviors. Along these cycles, the economy exhibits asymmetric fluctuations; it experiences a slow process of recovery from a recession, followed by a rapid expansion, and possibly after a period of high volatility, plunges into a recession.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:1131

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Web page: http://econtheory.org

Related research

Keywords: Net worth; borrowing constraints; heterogeneous projects; demand spillovers; credit multiplier; credit reversal; financial instability; endogenous credit cycles; nonlinear dynamics; intermittency; asymmetric fluctuations;

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References

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  1. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2002. "On the Rise and Fall of Class Societies," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-173, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  2. Boldrin, Michele & Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Equilibrium models displaying endogenous fluctuations and chaos : A survey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 189-222, March.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1995. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 3906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  5. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1998. "Endogenous Inequality," Discussion Papers 1238, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  7. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2007. "Credit Traps and Credit Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 503-516, March.

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