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How Debt Markets have Malfunctioned in the Crisis

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  • Arvind Krishnamurthy
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    Abstract

    This article explains how debt markets have malfunctioned in the crisis, with deleterious consequences for the real economy. I begin with a quick overview of debt markets. I then discuss three areas that are crucial in all debt markets decisions: risk capital and risk aversion, repo financing and haircuts, and counterparty risk. In each of these areas, feedback effects can arise, so that less liquidity and a higher cost for finance can reinforce each other in a contagious spiral. I document the remarkable rise in the premium that investors placed on liquidity during the crisis. Next, I show how these issues caused debt markets to break down: fundamental values and market values seemed to diverge across several markets and products that were far removed from the “toxic” subprime mortgage assets at the root of the crisis. Finally, I discuss briefly four steps that the Federal Reserve took to ease the crisis, and how each was geared to a specific systemic fault that arose during the crisis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15542.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2009
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    Publication status: published as Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2010. "How Debt Markets Have Malfunctioned in the Crisis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15542

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    1. Gromb, Denis & Vayanos, Dimitri, 2001. "Equilibrium and Welfare in Markets with Financially Constrained Arbitrageurs," CEPR Discussion Papers 3049, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2008. "Collective Risk Management in a Flight to Quality Episode," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(5), pages 2195-2230, October.
    3. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
    4. Robin Greenwood & Dimitri Vayanos, 2008. "Bond Supply and Excess Bond Returns," NBER Working Papers 13806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 5817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2002. "The bond/old-bond spread," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 463-506.
    7. Adriano Rampini & Andrea Eisfeldt, 2005. "Financing Shortfalls and the Value of Aggregate Liquidity," 2005 Meeting Papers 889, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Dimitri Vayanos, 2004. "Flight to Quality, Flight to Liquidity, and the Pricing of Risk," NBER Working Papers 10327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:oup:rfinst:v:25:y::i:6:p:1799-1843 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    13. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2008. "The Aggregate Demand for Treasury Debt," 2008 Meeting Papers 713, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Nicolae B. Garleanu & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2007. "Liquidity and Risk Management," NBER Working Papers 12887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Saki Bigio, 2012. "Financial Risk Capacity," 2012 Meeting Papers 97, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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