IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Amplification Mechanisms in Liquidity Crises

  • Arvind Krishnamurthy
Registered author(s):

    I describe two amplifications mechanisms that operate during crises and discuss the benefits of policy given each mechanism. The first mechanism involves asset prices and balance sheets. A negative shock to agents' balance sheets causes them to liquidate assets, lowering prices, further deteriorating balance sheets and amplifying the shock. The second mechanism involves investors' Knightian uncertainty. Unusual shocks to untested financial innovations increase agents' uncertainty about their investments, causing them to disengage from markets and amplifying the crisis. Liquidity provision by the central bank alleviates the crisis in both mechanisms. Ex ante policies such as liquidity/capital requirements may also be beneficial. (JEL E32, E44, G01, G21, G32)

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 1-30

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:1-30
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.2.3.1
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2005. "From Cash-in-the-Market Pricing to Financial Fragility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 535-546, 04/05.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 12939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2007. "Collective Risk Management in a Flight to Quality Episode," NBER Working Papers 12896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Acharya, Viral V & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2003. "Asset Pricing with Liquidity Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 3749, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Francis A. Longstaff, 2004. "The Flight-to-Liquidity Premium in U.S. Treasury Bond Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 511-526, July.
    6. Gromb, Denis & Vayanos, Dimitri, 2002. "Equilibrium and welfare in markets with financially constrained arbitrageurs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 361-407.
    7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2003. "Excessive Dollar Debt: Financial Development and Underinsurance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 867-894, 04.
    8. 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.
    9. Xavier Gabaix & Arvind Krishnamurthy & Olivier Vigneron, 2007. "Limits of Arbitrage: Theory and Evidence from the Mortgage-Backed Securities Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 557-595, 04.
    10. 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.
    11. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2009. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2008," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
    12. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 5817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Dimitri Vayanos, 2004. "Flight to Quality, Flight to Liquidity, and the Pricing of Risk," NBER Working Papers 10327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Olivier Blanchard, 2009. "The Crisis: Basic Mechanisms and Appropriate Policies," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(1), pages 3-14, 04.
    15. Campbell, John Y & Grossman, Sanford J & Wang, Jiang, 1993. "Trading Volume and Serial Correlation in Stock Returns," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 905-39, November.
    16. Eisfeldt, Andrea L., 2007. "Smoothing with liquid and illiquid assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1572-1586, September.
    17. Guillaume Plantin & Haresh Sapra & Hyun Shin, . "Marking to Market: Panacea or Pandora’s Box ?," GSIA Working Papers 2005-E4, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    18. Luboš Pástor & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Liquidity Risk and Expected Stock Returns," CRSP working papers 531, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    19. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Amihud, Yakov, 2002. "Illiquidity and stock returns: cross-section and time-series effects," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 31-56, January.
    21. Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2004. "Leaning against the wind," 2004 Meeting Papers 382, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    22. Albert S. Kyle, 2001. "Contagion as a Wealth Effect," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1401-1440, 08.
    23. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:1-30. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

    or (Michael P. Albert)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.