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The role of U.S. subprime mortgage-backed assets in propagating the crisis: Contagion or interdependence?

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  • Flavin, Thomas J.
  • Sheenan, Lisa

Abstract

Though relatively small, the subprime mortgage-backed securities market is often identified as the source of the crisis that swept through the U.S. financial system from 2007 onwards. We investigate if its role in the propagation of the crisis was due to contagion or interdependence. Using a Markov-switching VAR with time-varying transition probabilities, we analyse the transmission of shocks across the financial system. We find little evidence of asset correlation changes between normal and crisis regimes and those that do occur are predominantly associated with liquidity variables. Otherwise, relationships are stable across market conditions, implying that the U.S. financial crisis was due to cross-market interdependencies rather than contagion. There is limited evidence that the deteriorating quality of the underlying assets can explain the transition from ‘normal’ market conditions to a high-volatility regime, although this is not consistent across model specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Flavin, Thomas J. & Sheenan, Lisa, 2015. "The role of U.S. subprime mortgage-backed assets in propagating the crisis: Contagion or interdependence?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 167-186.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecofin:v:34:y:2015:i:c:p:167-186
    DOI: 10.1016/j.najef.2015.09.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Bogataj, David & McDonnell, Diego Ros & Bogataj, Marija, 2016. "Management, financing and taxation of housing stock in the shrinking cities of aging societies," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 181(PA), pages 2-13.
    2. Yang, Lu & Cai, Xiao Jing & Zhang, Huimin & Hamori, Shigeyuki, 2016. "Interdependence of foreign exchange markets: A wavelet coherence analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 6-14.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial crisis; Contagion; Subprime mortgage-backed securities; Markov-switching VAR;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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