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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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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
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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  1. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2201-2238, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and The Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-691.
  4. 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.
  5. Emmanuel Farhi & Jean Tirole, 2012. "Collective Moral Hazard, Maturity Mismatch, and Systemic Bailouts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 60-93, February.
  6. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
  7. John Geanakoplos & Felix Kubler, 2004. "Leverage, Incomplete Markets and Crises," 2004 Meeting Papers 557, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2001. "International and domestic collateral constraints in a model of emerging market crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 513-548, December.
  9. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-1244, September.
  10. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  11. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
  12. 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.
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