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Learning Financial Shocks and the Great Recession

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Abstract

This paper develops a simple business-cycle model in which financial shocks have large macroeconomic effects when private agents are gradually learning their economic environment. When agents update their beliefs about the unobserved process driving financial shocks to the leverage ratio, the responses of output and other aggregates under adaptive learning are significantly larger than under rational expectations. In our benchmark case calibrated using US data on leverage, debt-to-GDP and land value-to-GDP ratios for 1996Q1-2008Q4, learning amplifies leverage shocks by a factor of about three, relative to rational expectations. When fed with the actual leverage innovations, the learning model predicts the correct magnitude for the Great Recession, while its rational expectations counterpart predicts a counter-factual expansion. In addition, we show that procyclical leverage reinforces the impact of learning and, accordingly, that macro-prudential policies enforcing countercyclical leverage dampen the effects of leverage shocks. Finally, we illustrate how learning with a misspecified model that ignores real/financial linkages also contributes to magnify financial shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick A. Pintus & Jacek Suda, 2013. "Learning Financial Shocks and the Great Recession," AMSE Working Papers 1333, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 05 Jun 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1333
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    Cited by:

    1. Julian Kozlowski & Laura Veldkamp & Venky Venkateswaran, 2015. "The Tail that Wags the Economy: Beliefs and Persistent Stagnation," NBER Working Papers 21719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Julian Kozlowski & Laura Veldkamp & Venky Venkateswaran, 2018. "The Tail that Keeps the Riskless Rate Low," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2018, volume 33 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Winkler, Fabian, 2016. "The Role of Learning for Asset Prices and Business Cycles," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-019, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 01 Mar 2017.
    4. Martin Guzman & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2016. "Pseudo-wealth and Consumption Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 22838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Venky Venkateswaran & Laura Veldkamp & Julian Kozlowski, 2015. "The Tail that Wags the Economy: Belief-Driven Business Cycles and Persistent Stagnation," 2015 Meeting Papers 800, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Borrowing Constraints; Collateral; Leverage; Learning; Financial Shocks; Recession;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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