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La "debt-deflation" selon Irving Fisher, Histoire et actualité d'une théorie de la crise financière

  • Edouard Challe
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    [fre] La théorie de la "debt-deflation", proposée par I. Fisher en 1933 pour rendre compte de la violence et de la durée de la Grande Dépression, repose sur une articulation originale des facteurs monétaires (avec monnaie endogène) et financiers, c'est à dire prenant en compte les variations de la richesse nette et des déséquilibres de bilan. La déflation y provoque une hausse de l'encours réel de dette qui pousse les emprunteurs au désendettement, ce qui entretient la chute des prix en même temps que celle de la masse monétaire. Cet article analyse la nouveauté et la cohérence d'une telle dynamique, tout en s'interrogeant sur son articulation avec les thèses antérieures de Fisher et sur sa pertinence actuelle du point de vue théorique et empirique. Le cas pris en exemple est celui de la crise financière qui a frappé les pays de l'OCDE au tournant de la dernière décennie. [eng] In 1933, Irving Fisher suggested an original explanation of the Great Depression, based on the interaction between monetary factors (money being made endogenous) and financial factors ; giving a crucial role to borrowers' balance sheet and net worth. In his view, falling prices increased the burden of real debts, lowering net worth and thereby urging borrowers to pay their debts back. This reaction makes credit, money and prices fall, thus causing the process to self-fulfill. This paper aims to address the general consistency of Fisher's debt- deflation theory, while trying to relate it to his previous writings. It also questions the contemporary relevance of his approach given the changing institutional environment ; special attention is paid to the financial crisis that hit most OECD countries at the onset of the decade.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Cahiers d'économie politique.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 7-38

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:caecpo:cep_0154-8344_2000_num_36_1_1271
    Note: DOI:10.3406/cep.2000.1271
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    1. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," Working Papers 94-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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    3. Calomiris, Charles W & Hubbard, R Glenn, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and 'Credit Rationing.'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 90-104, March.
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    7. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. Mark L. Gertler, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 2559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. James Tobin, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 387, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    10. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
    11. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
    12. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & John Moore, 1995. "Credit Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
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