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Leverage and the Financial Accelerator in a Liquidity Trap

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  • Karel Mertens
  • Morten O. Ravn

Abstract

We show that the financial accelerator may be very large in a liquidity trap. We study a sticky price model with real estate and a financial friction specified as a collateral constraint. Expectations can lead the economy to a self-fulfilling liquidity trap equilibrium where the lower bound on the nominal interest rate binds. We model these equilibria as stochastic sunspots. As in the Great Depression, a liquidity trap entails house price depreciation and potentially large output losses. Higher leverage implies much larger output losses but at the same time rules out the existence of short-lived liquidity traps.

Suggested Citation

  • Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2011. "Leverage and the Financial Accelerator in a Liquidity Trap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 413-416, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:413-16
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.3.413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karel R. S. M. Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2014. "Fiscal Policy in an Expectations-Driven Liquidity Trap," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1637-1667.
    2. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2011. "Credit Channels in a Liquidity Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 8322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salvatore Perdichizzi, 2017. "Estimating Fiscal multipliers in the Eurozone. A Nonlinear Panel Data Approach," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def058, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    2. Schnell, Fabian, 2013. "Can Monetary Policy Delay the Reallocation of Capital?," Economics Working Paper Series 1329, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    3. Karel R. S. M. Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2014. "Fiscal Policy in an Expectations-Driven Liquidity Trap," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1637-1667.
    4. Morten Ravn & Karel Mertens, 2011. "Credit Channels in a Liquidity Trap," 2011 Meeting Papers 1452, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Karel Mertens & Morten Ravn, 2011. "The Research Agenda: Karel Mertens and Morten Ravn on Fiscal Policy, Anticipation Effects, Expectations and Crisis," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), April.
    6. Julio Carrillo & Celine Poilly, 2013. "How do financial frictions affect the spending multiplier during a liquidity trap?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 296-311, April.
    7. Smets, Frank & Villa, Stefania, 2016. "Slow recoveries: Any role for corporate leverage?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 54-85.

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