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Asset Fire Sales and Credit Easing

  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Robert W. Vishny

In a January 2009 lecture on the financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke advocated a new Fed policy of credit easing, defined as a combination of lending to financial institutions, providing liquidity directly to key credit markets, and buying of long term securities. We show that Bernanke's analysis and recommendations can be naturally considered in a model of "unstable banking," which relies on two mechanisms: 1) fire sales reduce asset prices below fundamental values, and 2) financial institutions prefer speculation to new lending when markets are dislocated. We analyze credit easing and compare it to alternative government interventions during the crisis.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15652.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2010. "Asset Fire Sales and Credit Easing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 46-50, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15652
Note: CF EFG
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  1. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2009. "Fear of Fire Sales and the Credit Freeze," NBER Working Papers 14925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-76, June.
  4. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2009. "Unstable Banking," NBER Working Papers 14943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
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