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Financial Innovation, the Discovery of Risk, and the U.S. Credit Crisis

  • Enrique G. Mendoza
  • Emine Boz

Uncertainty about the riskiness of new financial products was an important factor behind the U.S. credit crisis. We show that a boom-bust cycle in debt, asset prices and consumption characterizes the equilibrium dynamics of a model with a collateral constraint in which agents learn "by observation" the true riskiness of a new financial environment. Early realizations of states with high ability to leverage assets into debt turn agents optimistic about the persistence of a high-leverage regime. The model accounts for 69 percent of the household debt buildup and 53 percent of the rise in housing prices during 1997-2006, predicting a collapse in 2007.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/164.

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Length: 62
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/164
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  14. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Smith, Katherine A., 2006. "Quantitative implications of a debt-deflation theory of Sudden Stops and asset prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 82-114, September.
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  17. Durdu, Ceyhun Bora & Mendoza, Enrique G. & Terrones, Marco E., 2009. "Precautionary demand for foreign assets in Sudden Stop economies: An assessment of the New Mercantilism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 194-209, July.
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  22. Campbell, Jeffrey R. & Hercowitz, Zvi, 2009. "Welfare implications of the transition to high household debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-16, January.
  23. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2010. "Sudden Stops, Financial Crises, and Leverage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1941-66, December.
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  26. Andrea Ferrero, 2015. "House Price Booms, Current Account Deficits, and Low Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(S1), pages 261-293, 03.
  27. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Michaelides, Alexander & Nikolov, Kalin, 2010. "Winners and Losers in Housing Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 7953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Emine Boz & Christian Daude & C. Bora Durdu, 2011. "Emerging Market Business Cycles Revisited: Learning about the Trend," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1110, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  29. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J., 2008. "The market price of risk and the equity premium: A legacy of the Great Depression?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 454-476, April.
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  31. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2008. "Anticipated Utility And Rational Expectations As Approximations Of Bayesian Decision Making," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 185-221, 02.
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