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The Anatomy of a Credit Crisis: The Boom and Bust in Farm Land Prices in the United States in the 1920s

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  • Raghuram Rajan
  • Rodney Ramcharan

Abstract

Does credit availability exacerbate asset price inflation? Are there long run consequences? During the farm land price boom and bust before the Great Depression, we find that credit availability directly inflated land prices. Credit also amplified the relationship between positive fundamentals and land prices, leading to greater indebtedness. When fundamentals soured, areas with higher credit availability suffered a greater fall in land prices and had more bank failures. Land prices and credit availability also remained disproportionately low for decades in these areas, suggesting that leverage might render temporary credit induced booms and busts persistent. We draw lessons for regulatory policy.

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  • Raghuram Rajan & Rodney Ramcharan, 2012. "The Anatomy of a Credit Crisis: The Boom and Bust in Farm Land Prices in the United States in the 1920s," NBER Working Papers 18027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18027
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Zwick & Charles Nathanson & Anthony DeFusco, 2017. "Speculative Dynamics of Prices and Volume," 2017 Meeting Papers 239, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Rodney Ramcharan & Stéphane Verani & Skander J. Van Den Heuvel, 2016. "From Wall Street to Main Street: The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Consumer Credit Supply," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(3), pages 1323-1356, June.
    3. Matthew Jaremski & David C. Wheelock, 2020. "Banking on the Boom, Tripped by the Bust: Banks and the World War I Agricultural Price Shock," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(7), pages 1719-1754, October.
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    6. Brownlees, Christian & Chabot, Ben & Ghysels, Eric & Kurz, Christopher, 2020. "Back to the future: Backtesting systemic risk measures during historical bank runs and the great depression," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    7. Jason Henderson & Nathan Kauffman, 2013. "Farm investment and leverage cycles: will this time be different?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 89-114.
    8. Azmat, Saad & Azad, A.S.M. Sohel & Ghaffar, Hamza & Hayat, Aziz & Chazi, Abdelaziz, 2020. "Conventional vs Islamic banking and macroeconomic risk: Impact on asset price bubbles," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    9. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin Saavedra, 2020. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its Lessons for COVID-19," Working Papers 2020-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    10. Ehsan U. Choudhri & Lawrence L. Schembri, 2013. "A Tale of Two Countries and Two Booms, Canada and the United States in the 1920s and the 2000s: The Roles of Monetary and Financial Stability Policies," Working Paper series 44_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    11. Wan, Junmin, 2018. "Non-performing loans and housing prices in China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 26-42.
    12. Carola Moreno & Carlos Saavedra & Bárbara Ulloa, 2014. "Commodity Price Cycles and Financial Stability," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 738, Central Bank of Chile.
    13. KURASHIMA Daichi & MIZUNAGA Masashi & ODAKI Kazuhiko & WATANABE Wako, 2013. "Is Leverage a Determinant of Asset Price? Evidence from real estate transaction data," Discussion papers 13082, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Holt, Charles A. & Porzio, Megan & Song, Michelle Yingze, 2017. "Price bubbles, gender, and expectations in experimental asset markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 72-94.
    15. Sam Langfield & Marco Pagano, 2016. "Bank bias in Europe: effects on systemic risk and growth," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(85), pages 51-106.
    16. João Granja & Christian Leuz & Raghuram Rajan, 2018. "Going the Extra Mile: Distant Lending and Credit Cycles," NBER Working Papers 25196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. SERGI BASCO & John P. Tang, 2017. "The Samurai Bond: Credit Supply And Economic Growth In Pre-War Japan," CEH Discussion Papers 05, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    18. Eric Hilt & Matthew S. Jaremski & Wendy Rahn, 2020. "When Uncle Sam Introduced Main Street to Wall Street: Liberty Bonds and the Transformation of American Finance," NBER Working Papers 27703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Acharya, Viral & Naqvi, Hassan, 2012. "The seeds of a crisis: A theory of bank liquidity and risk taking over the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 349-366.
    20. Rajan, Raghuram & Ramcharan, Rodney, 2016. "Local financial capacity and asset values: Evidence from bank failures," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 229-251.
    21. Claudio Borio & Magdalena Erdem & Andrew Filardo & Boris Hofmann, 2015. "The costs of deflations: a historical perspective," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    22. Nemoto, Hiroyuki, 2017. "Credit availability and asset price: Empirical analysis of the Japanese bubbles in 1980s," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 90-98.
    23. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin H. Saavedra, 2020. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its Lessons for COVID-19," NBER Working Papers 27673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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