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How Debt Markets have Malfunctioned in the Crisis

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  • Arvind Krishnamurthy

Abstract

This article explains how debt markets have malfunctioned in the crisis, with deleterious consequences for the real economy. I begin with a quick overview of debt markets. I then discuss three areas that are crucial in all debt markets decisions: risk capital and risk aversion, repo financing and haircuts, and counterparty risk. In each of these areas, feedback effects can arise, so that less liquidity and a higher cost for finance can reinforce each other in a contagious spiral. I document the remarkable rise in the premium that investors placed on liquidity during the crisis. Next, I show how these issues caused debt markets to break down: fundamental values and market values seemed to diverge across several markets and products that were far removed from the "toxic" subprime mortgage assets at the root of the crisis. Finally, I discuss briefly four steps that the Federal Reserve took to ease the crisis, and how each was geared to a specific systemic fault that arose during the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2009. "How Debt Markets have Malfunctioned in the Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15542
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2008. "Collective Risk Management in a Flight to Quality Episode," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(5), pages 2195-2230, October.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2201-2238, June.
    3. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2008. "The Aggregate Demand for Treasury Debt," 2008 Meeting Papers 713, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1998. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 1-40, February.
    5. Gromb, Denis & Vayanos, Dimitri, 2002. "Equilibrium and welfare in markets with financially constrained arbitrageurs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 361-407.
    6. Robin Greenwood & Dimitri Vayanos, 2014. "Bond Supply and Excess Bond Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(3), pages 663-713.
    7. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    8. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
    9. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
    10. Vayanos, Dimitri, 2004. "Flight to quality, flight to liquidity, and the pricing of risk," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 456, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
    12. Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2002. "The bond/old-bond spread," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 463-506.
    13. Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2007. "Liquidity and Risk Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 193-197, May.
    14. Adriano Rampini & Andrea Eisfeldt, 2005. "Financing Shortfalls and the Value of Aggregate Liquidity," 2005 Meeting Papers 889, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. repec:oup:rfinst:v:25:y::i:6:p:1799-1843 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Mamatzakis, Emmanuel & Bermpei, Theodora, 2014. "What drives investment bank performance? The role of risk, liquidity and fees prior to and during the crisis," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 102-117.
    2. Ralph Chami & Connel Fullenkamp & Sunil Sharma, 2010. "A framework for financial market development," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 107-135.
    3. Feixue Gong & Gregory Phelan, 2015. "Debt Collateralization, Capital Structure, and Maximal Leverage," Department of Economics Working Papers 2015-13, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jul 2016.
    4. repec:eee:jfinec:v:112:y:2014:i:2:p:164-189 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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