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Asset Fire Sales and Credit Easing


  • Shleifer, Andrei
  • Vishny, Robert W.


In a January 2009 lecture on the financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke advocated a new Fed policy of credit easing, defined as a combination of lending to financial institutions, providing liquidity directly to key credit markets, and buying of long term securities. We show that Bernanke's analysis and recommendations can be naturally considered in a model of "unstable banking," which relies on two mechanisms: 1) fire sales reduce asset prices below fundamental values, and 2) financial institutions prefer speculation to new lending when markets are dislocated. We analyze credit easing and compare it to alternative government interventions during the crisis.
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  • Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 2010. "Asset Fire Sales and Credit Easing," Scholarly Articles 10362022, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:10362022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
    2. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2009. "Fear of Fire Sales and the Credit Freeze," NBER Working Papers 14925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    4. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
    5. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " The Limits of Arbitrage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 35-55, March.
    6. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 2010. "Unstable banking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 306-318, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Jiménez & Steven Ongena & José-Luis Peydró & Jesús Saurina, 2017. "Macroprudential Policy, Countercyclical Bank Capital Buffers, and Credit Supply: Evidence from the Spanish Dynamic Provisioning Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(6), pages 2126-2177.
    2. Sanjiv Das & Seoyoung Kim, 2016. "The Design and Risk Management of Structured Finance Vehicles," Journal of Risk and Financial Management, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-21, October.
    3. Hanson, Samuel G. & Sunderam, Adi, 2013. "Are there too many safe securities? Securitization and the incentives for information production," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 565-584.
    4. Avgouleas, Emilios & Goodhart, Charles & Schoenmaker, Dirk, 2013. "Bank Resolution Plans as a catalyst for global financial reform," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 210-218.
    5. Pol, Eduardo, 2012. "The preponderant causes of the USA banking crisis 2007–08," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 519-528.
    6. Dungey, Mardi & Milunovich, George & Thorp, Susan & Yang, Minxian, 2015. "Endogenous crisis dating and contagion using smooth transition structural GARCH," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 71-79.
    7. repec:eee:finsta:v:29:y:2017:i:c:p:92-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gertler, Mark & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Queralto, Albert, 2012. "Financial crises, bank risk exposure and government financial policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 17-34.
    9. repec:clh:resear:v:8:y:2015:i:34 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Racicot, François-Éric & Théoret, Raymond, 2016. "Macroeconomic shocks, forward-looking dynamics, and the behavior of hedge funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 41-61.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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