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Solving the Present Crisis and Managing the Leverage Cycle

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    Abstract

    The present crisis is the bottom of a recurring problem that I call the leverage cycle, in which leverage gradually rises too high then suddenly falls much too low. The government must manage the leverage cycle in normal times by monitoring and regulating leverage to keep it from getting too high. In the crisis stage the government must stem the scary bad news that brought on the crisis, which often will entail coordinated write downs of principal; it must restore sane leverage by going around the banks and lending at lower collateral rates (not lower interest rates), and when necessary it must inject optimistic capital into firms and markets than cannot be allowed to fail. Economists and the Fed have for too long focused on interest rates and ignored collateral.

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    File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d17b/d1751.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1751.

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    Length: 48 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2010
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review, August 2010, pp. 101-131
    Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1751

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    Related research

    Keywords: Leverage; Collateral; Margins; Leverage cycle; Externality; Principal;

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    1. Farhi, Emmanuel & Tirole, Jean, 2009. "Collective Moral Hazard, Maturity Mismatch and Systemic Bailouts," IDEI Working Papers 571, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Oct 2010.
    2. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-44, September.
    3. Holmström, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," IDEI Working Papers 40, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    4. Denis Gromb & Dimitri Vayanos, 2002. "Equilibrium and welfare in markets with financially constrained arbitrageurs," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 448, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    6. Brunnermeier, Markus K & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. John Geanakoplos & Felix Kubler, 2004. "Leverage, Incomplete Markets and Crises," 2004 Meeting Papers 557, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2001. "International and domestic collateral constraints in a model of emerging market crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 513-548, December.
    9. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and leverage," Staff Reports 328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    10. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher S. Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Paul S. Willen, 2009. "Reducing foreclosures," Public Policy Discussion Paper 09-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    11. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
    12. Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
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