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Puzzling over the Anatomy of Crises: Liquidity and the Veil of Finance

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  • Guillermo Calvo

    (Columbia University and NBER (E-mail: gc2286@columbia.edu))

Abstract

The paper claims that conventional monetary theory obliterates the central role played by media of exchange in the workings and instability of capitalist economies; and that a significant part of the financial system depends on the resiliency of paper currency and liquid assets that have been built on top of it. The resilience of the resulting financial tree is questionable if regulators are not there to adequately trim its branches to keep it from toppling by its own weight or minor wind gusts. The issues raised in the paper are not entirely new but have been ignored in conventional theory. This is very strange because disregard for these key issues has lasted for more than half a century. Are we destined to keep on making the same mistake? The paper argues that a way to prevent that is to understand its roots, and traces them to the Keynes/Hicks tradition. In addition, the paper presents a narrative and some empirical evidence suggesting a key channel from Liquidity Crunch to Sudden Stop, which supports the view that liquidity/credit shocks have been a central factor in recent crises. In addition, the paper claims that liquidity considerations help to explain (a) why a credit boom may precede financial crisis, (b) why capital inflows grow in the run-up of balance-of-payments crises, and (c) why gross flows are pro-cyclical.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillermo Calvo, 2013. "Puzzling over the Anatomy of Crises: Liquidity and the Veil of Finance," IMES Discussion Paper Series 13-E-09, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  • Handle: RePEc:ime:imedps:13-e-09
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    File URL: http://www.imes.boj.or.jp/research/papers/english/13-E-09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Haakon Kavli & Nicola Viegi, 2015. "Portfolio Flows in a Two-Country RBC Model with Financial Intermediaries," Working Papers 201568, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    3. Salter, Alexander W. & Smith, Daniel J., 2019. "Political economists or political economists? The role of political environments in the formation of fed policy under burns, Greenspan, and Bernanke," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Joshua R. Hendrickson, 2017. "Interest rates and investment coordination failures," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 493-515, December.
    5. Haakon Kavli & Nicola Viegi, 2017. "Are Determinants of Portfolio Flows Always the Same? - South African Results from a Time Varying Parameter Var Model," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 85(1), pages 3-27, March.
    6. Pablo Agnese & Jana Hromcová, 2018. "Bubble economics and structural change: the cases of Spain and France compared," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 59-79, January.
    7. Cachanosky, Nicolás & Lewin, Peter, 2016. "An empirical application of the EVA® framework to business cycles," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 60-67.
    8. Cachanosky, Nicolas, 2014. "The effects of U.S. monetary policy on Colombia and Panama (2002–2007)," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 428-436.
    9. Natacha Postel-Vinay, 2015. "What caused Chicago bank failures in the Great Depression? A look at the 1920s," Working Papers 22, Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge.
    10. Andreas Hardhaug Olsen, 2015. "Wilhelm Röpke and Richard C. Koo On Secondary Deflations and Balance Sheet Recessions," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 215-224, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Crises; Bubbles; Sudden Stop;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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