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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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  1. Enrique G. Mendoza & Ceyhun Bora Durdu & Marco Terrones, 2007. "Precautionary Demand for Foreign Assets in Sudden Stop Economies: An Assessment of the New Merchantilism," IMF Working Papers 07/146, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Bianchi, Javier, 2009. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 15114, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973, April.
  4. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
  5. Emine Boz & Christian Daude & Ceyhun Bora Durdu, 2008. "Emerging market business cycles revisited: learning about the trend," International Finance Discussion Papers 927, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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