Leverage? What Leverage? A Deep Dive into the U.S. Flow of Funds in Search of Clues to the Global Crisis
This paper questions the view that leverage should have forewarned us of the global financial crisis of 2007-09, pointing to several gearing indicators that were neither useful portents of the onset of the crisis nor of its ferocity. Instead it shows, first, that the use of ill-suited collateral in the secured funding operations of U.S.-based investment banks was the fatal link between the collapse of structured finance and the global malfunction of funding markets that turbocharged the downdraft; and, second, that this insight (and others) can be decrypted from the Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States.
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