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Credit Traps

  • Efraim Benmelech
  • Nittai K. Bergman

This paper studies the limitations of monetary policy in stimulating credit and investment. We show that, under certain circumstances, unconventional monetary policies fail in that liquidity injections into the banking sector are hoarded and not lent out. We use the term "credit traps" to describe such situations and show how they can arise due to the interplay between financing frictions, liquidity, and collateral values. We show that small contractions in monetary policy can lead to a collapse in lending. Our analysis demonstrates how quantitative easing may be useful in increasing collateral prices, bank lending, and aggregate investment. (JEL E44, E52, E58, G01)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 (October)
Pages: 3004-32

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:6:p:3004-32
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  1. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1991. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 3892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jeremy C. Stein, 1998. "An Adverse-Selection Model of Bank Asset and Liability Management with Implications for the Transmission of Monetary Policy," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 466-486, Autumn.
  3. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman, 2008. "Collateral Pricing," NBER Working Papers 13874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-44, September.
  5. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2010. "Sudden Stops, Financial Crises, and Leverage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1941-66, December.
  6. Efraim Benmelech & Mark J. Garmaise & Tobias Moskowitz, 2004. "Do Liquidation Values Affect Financial Contracts? Evidence from Commercial Loan Contracts and Zoning Regulation," NBER Working Papers 11004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Viral V. Acharya & Hyun Song Shin & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2011. "Crisis Resolution and Bank Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2166-2205.
  8. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1991. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 233, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  9. Adriano A. Rampini & S. Viswanathan, 2010. "Collateral, Risk Management, and the Distribution of Debt Capacity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2293-2322, December.
  10. Viral V. Acharya & S. Viswanathan, 2010. "Leverage, Moral Hazard and Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 15837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas, 2006. "Corporate Finance and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 829-870.
  12. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
  13. Efraim Benmelech, 2009. "Asset Salability and Debt Maturity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century American Railroads," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 1545-1584, April.
  14. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 2000. "Bubbles and Crises," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 236-55, January.
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