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Liquidity, Default and Crashes: Endogenous Contracts in General Equilibrium

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Abstract

The possibility of default limits available liquidity. If the potential default draws nearer, a liquidity crisis may ensue, causing a crash in asset prices, even if the probability of default barely changes, and even if no defaults subsequently materialize. Introducing default and limited collateral into general equilibrium theory (GE) allows for a theory of endogenous contracts, including endogenous margin requirements on loans. This in turn allows GE to explain liquidity and liquidity crises in equilibrium. A formal definition of liquidity is presented. When new information raises the probability and shortens the horizon over which a fixed income asset may default, its drop in price may be much greater than its objective drop in value for two reasons: the drop in value reduces the relative wealth of its natural buyers and also endogenously raises the margin required for its purchase. The liquidity premium rises, and there may be spillovers in which other assets crash in price even though their probability of default did not change.

Suggested Citation

  • John Geanakoplos, 2001. "Liquidity, Default and Crashes: Endogenous Contracts in General Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1316, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1316
    Note: CFP 1074
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d13/d1316.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-248, April.
    2. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    3. Smith, Vernon L, 1972. "Default Risk, Scale, and the Homemade Leverage Theorem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 66-76, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gromb, Denis & Vayanos, Dimitri, 2002. "Equilibrium and welfare in markets with financially constrained arbitrageurs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 361-407.
    2. Hundtofte, Sean, 2017. "Does going easy on distressed banks help economic growth?," Staff Reports 823, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Jan 2018.
    3. Broer, Tobias & Kero, Afroditi, 2014. "Collateralisation bubbles when investors disagree about risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 10148, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Liquidity; default; collateral; crashes; general equilibrium; contracts; spillover; liquidity premium;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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