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Solving the Present Crisis and Managing the Leverage Cycle

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Solving the Present Crisis and Managing the Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1751, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1751
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Leverage; Collateral; Margins; Leverage cycle; Externality; Principal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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