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Reviewing the Leverage Cycle

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Abstract

We review the theory of leverage developed in collateral equilibrium models with incomplete markets. We explain how leverage tends to boost asset prices, and create bubbles. We show how leverage can be endogenously determined in equilibrium, and how it depends on volatility. We describe the dynamic feedback properties of leverage, volatility, and asset prices, in what we call the Leverage Cycle. We also describe some cross-sectional implications of multiple leverage cycles, including contagion, flight to collateral, and swings in the issuance volume of the highest quality debt. We explain the differences between the leverage cycle and the credit cycle literature. Finally, we describe an agent based model of the leverage cycle in which asset prices display clustered volatility and fat tails even though all the shocks are essentially Gaussian.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2013. "Reviewing the Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1918, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1918
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d19/d1918.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.
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    3. Fostel, Ana & Geanakoplos, John, 2012. "Why does bad news increase volatility and decrease leverage?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 501-525.
    4. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 2006. "Efficient Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 485-516, June.
    5. Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Margin-based Asset Pricing and Deviations from the Law of One Price," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1980-2022.
    6. Viral V. Acharya & S. Viswanathan, 2011. "Leverage, Moral Hazard, and Liquidity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(1), pages 99-138, February.
    7. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos, 2002. "Competitive Pooling: Rothschild-Stiglitz Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1529-1570.
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    9. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2013. "Leverage and Default in Binomial Economies: A Complete Characterization," Working Papers 2013-16, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    10. Lagos, Ricardo, 2010. "Asset prices and liquidity in an exchange economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 913-930, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mikael Juselius & Mathias Drehmann, 2015. "Leverage dynamics and the real burden of debt," BIS Working Papers 501, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Mikael Juselius & Anton Korinek & Mathias Drehmann, 2017. "Debt Service: The Painful Legacy of Credit Booms," 2017 Meeting Papers 1258, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Leverage; Leverage cycle; Volatility; Collateral equilibrium; Collateral value; Liquidity wedge; Flight to collateral; Contagion; Adverse selection; Agent based models;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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