A Critique of the Literature on the US Financial Debt Crisis
A healthy financial system encourages the efficient allocation of capital and risk. The collapse of the house price bubble led to the financial crisis that started in 2007. There is a large empirical literature concerning the relation between asset price bubbles and financial crises. I evaluate the key studies with the respect to the following questions. To what extent do the empirical relations in the existing literature help to identify asset price bubbles ex-ante or ex-post? Do the empirical studies have theoretical foundations? On the basis of that critique, I explain why the application of stochastic optimal control (SOC)/dynamic risk management is a much more effective approach to determine the optimal degree of leverage, the optimum and excessive risk and the probability of a debt crisis. The theoretically founded early warning signals of a crisis are shown to be superior, in general, to those empirical relations in the literature. Moreover the SOC analysis provides a theoretical explanation of the extent that the empirical measures in the literature can be useful.
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- Kristopher S. Gerardi & Andreas Lehnert & Shane M. Sherlund & Paul S. Willen, 2009.
"Making sense of the subprime crisis,"
Public Policy Discussion Paper
09-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Stein, Jerome L., 2006. "Stochastic Optimal Control, International Finance, and Debt Crises," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199280575, March.
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