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Safety Traps

Author

Listed:
  • Kenza Benhima
  • Baptiste Massenot

Abstract

Fear of risk provides a rationale for protracted economic downturns. We develop a real business cycle model where investors with decreasing relative risk aversion choose between a risky and a safe technology that exhibit decreasing returns. Because of a feedback effect from the interest rate to risk aversion, two equilibria can emerge: a standard equilibrium and a "safe" one in which investors invest in safer assets. We refer to the dynamics of this second equilibrium as a safety trap because it is self-reinforcing as investors accumulate more wealth and show it to be consistent with Japan's lost decade.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenza Benhima & Baptiste Massenot, 2013. "Safety Traps," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 68-106, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:68-106
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.5.4.68
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "The 1990s in Japan: a lost decade," Chapters,in: The Economics of an Ageing Population, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Bryan Graham & Jonathan Temple, 2006. "Rich Nations, Poor Nations: How Much Can Multiple Equilibria Explain?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 5-41, March.
    3. Kenza Benhima & Baptiste Massenot, 2013. "Safety Traps," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 68-106, October.
    4. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1998. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 1-40, February.
    5. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
    6. Abel, Andrew B, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 38-42, May.
    7. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2009. "Fight or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 301-348.
    8. Aart Kraay & Norman Loayza & Luis Servén & Jaume Ventura, 2005. "Country Portfolios," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 914-945, June.
    9. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "The 1990s in Japan: A Lost Decade," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 206-235, January.
    10. Benhima, Kenza, 2013. "A reappraisal of the allocation puzzle through the portfolio approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 331-346.
    11. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-969, July.
    12. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and The Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-691.
    13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
    14. Angeletos, George-Marios & Panousi, Vasia, 2009. "Revisiting the supply side effects of government spending," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 137-153, March.
    15. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-543, June.
    16. Ricardo J. Caballero & Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2008. "Zombie Lending and Depressed Restructuring in Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1943-1977, December.
    17. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
    18. Peter Howitt & R. Preston McAfee, 1988. "Stability of Equilibria with Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 261-277.
    19. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Public Debt as Private Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-388, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kenza Benhima & Baptiste Massenot, 2013. "Safety Traps," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 68-106, October.
    2. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2016:i:6:p:5-22 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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