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Reviewing the Leverage Cycle

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    Abstract

    We review the theory of leverage developed in collateral equilibrium models with incomplete markets. We explain how leverage tends to boost asset prices, and create bubbles. We show how leverage can be endogenously determined in equilibrium, and how it depends on volatility. We describe the dynamic feedback properties of leverage, volatility, and asset prices, in what we call the Leverage Cycle. We also describe some cross-sectional implications of multiple leverage cycles, including contagion, flight to collateral, and swings in the issuance volume of the highest quality debt. We explain the differences between the leverage cycle and the credit cycle literature. Finally, we describe an agent based model of the leverage cycle in which asset prices display clustered volatility and fat tails even though all the shocks are essentially Gaussian.

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    File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d19a/d1918.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 1918.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1918

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    Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

    Related research

    Keywords: Leverage; Leverage cycle; Volatility; Collateral equilibrium; Collateral value; Liquidity wedge; Flight to collateral; Contagion; Adverse selection; Agent based models;

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    1. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 2006. "Efficient Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 485-516, June.
    2. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Why Does Bad News Increase Volatility and Decrease Leverage?," IMF Working Papers 10/206, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos, 2002. "Competitive Pooling: Rothschild-Stiglitz Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1529-1570, November.
    4. Lagos, Ricardo, 2010. "Asset prices and liquidity in an exchange economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 913-930, November.
    5. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2201-2238, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Viral V. Acharya & S. Viswanathan, 2011. "Leverage, Moral Hazard, and Liquidity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(1), pages 99-138, 02.
    8. 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.
    9. Laura E. Kodres & Matthew Pritsker, 2002. "A Rational Expectations Model of Financial Contagion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 769-799, 04.
    10. Gale, Douglas, 1992. "A Walrasian Theory of Markets with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 229-55, April.
    11. Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Margin-Based Asset Pricing and Deviations from the Law of One Price," NBER Working Papers 16777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Tobias Adrian & Nina Boyarchenko, 2012. "Intermediary leverage cycles and financial stability," Staff Reports 567, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    13. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos, 2001. "Competitive Pooling: Rothschild-Stiglitz Reconsidered," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1346R2, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 2002.
    14. Harrison, J Michael & Kreps, David M, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-36, May.
    15. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and leverage," Staff Reports 328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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