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Good and Bad Investment: An Inquiry into the Causes of Credit Cycles

  • Kiminori Matsuyama

This paper develops models of endogenous credit cycles. The basic model has two types of profitable investment projects: the Good and the Bad. Unlike the Good, the Bad contributes little to improve the net worth of other borrowers. Furthermore, it is relatively difficult to finance externally due to the agency problem. In a recession, a low net worth prevents the agents from financing the Bad, and much of the saving goes to finance the Good. This leads an improvement in net worth. In a boom, a high net worth makes it possible for the agents to finance the Bad. At the peak of the boom, this shift in the composition of credit and of investment from the Good to the Bad causes a deterioration of net worth, and the economy plunges into a recession. The whole process repeats itself. Endogenous fluctuations occur because the Good breeds the Bad, and the Bad destroys the Good. When extended to incorporate the Bernanke-Gertler (1989) type credit multiplier mechanism, the model generates asymmetric fluctuations, along which the economy experiences a long and slow process of recovery from a recession, followed by a rapid expansion, and possibly after a period of high volatility, plunges into a recession.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1335.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
Date of revision: Sep 2001
Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1335
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  1. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1999. "Growing Through Cycles in an Infinitely -lived Agent Economy," Discussion Papers 1280, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Matsuyama, K., 1996. "Growing through cycles," DELTA Working Papers 96-18, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 2000. "Endogenous Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 743-59, October.
  4. Boldrin, Michele & Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Equilibrium models displaying endogenous fluctuations and chaos : A survey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 189-222, March.
  5. Piketty, Thomas & Banerjee, Abhijit & Aghion, Philippe, 1997. "Dualism and macroeconomic volatility," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9720, CEPREMAP.
  6. Baumol, William J & Benhabib, Jess, 1989. "Chaos: Significance, Mechanism, and Economic Applications," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 77-105, Winter.
  7. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "Financial Market Globalization and Endogenous Inequality of Nations," Discussion Papers 1300, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Azariadis, Costas & Smith, Bruce, 1998. "Financial Intermediation and Regime Switching in Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 516-36, June.
  9. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
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