The Role of Credit in the 2007–09 Great Recession
This paper examines the financial crisis of 2007/9 and the downturn in the U.S. We argue that effective demand over the 2001–2006 expansion was maintained by credit. The role of credit in a Vector Error Correction Model and Granger-causality between aggregate spending, credit, disposable income, and profits are examined. We show that credit itself is determined by factors outside the circular flow of income. The results raise new hypotheses about the crucial relationships in macroeconomics that sustain aggregate spending. We then compute the generalized impulse responses in the VECM to demonstrate the severity of the downturn and show that legislative changes that dismantled the restrictions placed on the financial sector and the consequent structural changes after 1980 enabled the growth of new debt instruments and credit. The overexpansion of credit when profits and house prices were declining in 2005/06 and informational asymmetries on the quality of credit and its sudden withdrawal in 2007 paralyzed the economy and led to the Great Recession. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2012
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Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
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