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Overborrowing, Financial Crises and 'Macro-prudential' Taxes

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  • Javier Bianchi
  • Enrique G. Mendoza

Abstract

An equilibrium model of financial crises driven by Irving Fisher's financial amplification mechanism features a pecuniary externality, because private agents do not internalize how the price of assets used for collateral respond to collective borrowing decisions, particularly when binding collateral constraints cause asset fire-sales and lead to a financial crisis. As a result, agents in the competitive equilibrium borrow "too much" ex ante, compared with a financial regulator who internalizes the externality. Quantitative analysis calibrated to U.S. data shows that average debt and leverage are only slightly larger in the competitive equilibrium, but the incidence and magnitude of financial crises are much larger. Excess asset returns, Sharpe ratios and the price of risk are also much larger, and the distribution of returns displays endogenous fat tails. State-contingent taxes on debt and dividends of about 1 and -0.5 percent on average respectively support the regulator's allocations as a competitive equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Bianchi & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2010. "Overborrowing, Financial Crises and 'Macro-prudential' Taxes," NBER Working Papers 16091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16091
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    1. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2007. "Optimal simple and implementable monetary and fiscal rules," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1702-1725, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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