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Solving the Present Crisis and Managing the Leverage Cycle

The present crisis is the bottom of a recurring problem that I call the leverage cycle, in which leverage gradually rises too high then suddenly falls much too low. The government must manage the leverage cycle in normal times by monitoring and regulating leverage to keep it from getting too high. In the crisis stage the government must stem the scary bad news that brought on the crisis, which often will entail coordinated write downs of principal; it must restore sane leverage by going around the banks and lending at lower collateral rates (not lower interest rates), and when necessary it must inject optimistic capital into firms and markets than cannot be allowed to fail. Economists and the Fed have for too long focused on interest rates and ignored collateral.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d17b/d1751.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1751.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review, August 2010, pp. 101-131
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1751
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Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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  1. 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.
  2. Jean Tirole & Emmanuel Farhi, 2009. "Collective Moral Hazard, Maturity Mismatch and Systemic Bailouts," Working Papers 2009.57, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. 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.
  4. Brunnermeier, Markus K & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and leverage," Staff Reports 328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  8. Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
  9. John Geanakoplos & Felix Kubler, 2004. "Leverage, Incomplete Markets and Crises," 2004 Meeting Papers 557, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2000. "International and Domestic Collateral Constraints in a Model of Emerging Market Crises," NBER Working Papers 7971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-44, September.
  12. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher S. Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Paul S. Willen, 2009. "Reducing foreclosures," Public Policy Discussion Paper 09-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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