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Credit policy in times of financial distress

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  • Costas Azariadis

    (Washington University and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Abstract

This essay evaluates two central bank policy tools, capital requirements and lending of last resort, designed to avert financial panics in the context of endowment economics with complete markets and limited borrower commitment. Credit panics are self-fulfilling shocks to expected credit conditions which cause transitions from an optimal but fragile steady state to a suboptimal state with zero unsecured credit. The main findings are: (i) Countercyclical reserve policies protect the optimum equilibrium against modest shocks but are powerless against large shocks. (ii) If we ignore private information and central banks inefficiencies, this class of models bears out Bagehot’s 1873 claim in Lombard Street: panics are averted if central banks stand ready to lend at a rate somewhat above the one associated with the optimal state.

Suggested Citation

  • Costas Azariadis, 2013. "Credit policy in times of financial distress," Special Conference Papers 23, Bank of Greece.
  • Handle: RePEc:bog:spaper:23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Xavier Vives, 2004. "Coordination Failures and the Lender of Last Resort: Was Bagehot Right After All?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(6), pages 1116-1147, December.
    3. John Moore & Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, 2008. "Liquidity, Business Cycles, and Monetary Policy," 2008 Meeting Papers 35, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    5. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Efficiency, Equilibrium, and Asset Pricing with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 775-798, July.
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    7. Christian Hellwig & Guido Lorenzoni, 2009. "Bubbles and Self-Enforcing Debt," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1137-1164, July.
    8. Roger B. Myerson, 2012. "A Model of Moral-Hazard Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(5), pages 847-878.
    9. Bruce Champ & Bruce D. Smith & Stephen D. Williamson, 1996. "Currency Elasticity and Banking Panics: Theory and Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 828-864, November.
    10. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1993. "Debt-Constrained Asset Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 865-888.
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    12. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, Marzo.
    13. Gaetano Antinolfi & Costas Azariadis & James B. Bullard, 2007. "Monetary policy as equilibrium selection," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 331-342.
    14. Ennis, Huberto M. & Keister, Todd, 2010. "Banking panics and policy responses," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 404-419, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    bank panics; last resort; capital requirements; credit conditions;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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