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Tobin Lives: Integrating evolving credit market architecture into flow of funds based macro-models


  • John Muellbauer
  • John Duca


After the global financial crisis, there is greater awareness of the need to understand the interactions between the financial sector and the real economy and hence the potential for financial instability. Data from the financial flow of funds, previously relatively neglected, are now seen as crucial to the data monitoring carried out by central banks. This paper revisits earlier efforts to understand financial-real linkages, such as those of Tobin and the Yale School, and proposes a modelling framework for analysing the household flow of funds jointly with consumption. The consumption function incorporates household income, portfolios of assets and debt held at the end of the previous period, credit availability, and asset prices and interest rates. In a general equilibrium setting, these all have to be endogenised and since households make consumption and housing purchase decisions jointly with portfolio decisions, there is much to be gained in modelling a household sub-system of equations. Major evolutionary structural change - namely the evolving credit architecture facing households - is handled by our 'Latent Interactive Variable Equation System'. A by-product is improved understanding of the secular decline in US saving rate, as well as of the household financial accelerator. Moreover, the models discussed in this paper offer new ways of interpreting data on credit, money and asset prices, which are crucial for central banks.

Suggested Citation

  • John Muellbauer & John Duca, 2012. "Tobin Lives: Integrating evolving credit market architecture into flow of funds based macro-models," Economics Series Working Papers 622, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:622

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aron, Janine & Duca, John V. & Muellbauer, John N. & Murata, Keiko & Murphy, Anthony, 2010. "Credit, housing collateral and consumption: evidence from the UK, Japan and the US," Working Papers 1002, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. Backus, David & Purvis, Douglas, 1980. "An Integrated Model of Household Flow-of-Funds Allocations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(2), pages 400-421, Special I.
    3. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
    4. 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.
    5. Bennett, Paul & Peach, Richard & Peristiani, Stavros, 2001. "Structural Change in the Mortgage Market and the Propensity to Refinance," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(4), pages 955-975, November.
    6. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
    7. Breeden, Douglas T., 1979. "An intertemporal asset pricing model with stochastic consumption and investment opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-296, September.
    8. William C. Brainard & James Tobin, 1968. "Pitfalls in Financial Model-Building," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 244, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    9. David Blake, 2004. "Modelling the composition of personal sector wealth in the UK," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(9), pages 611-630.
    10. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2013. "Wealth, Credit Conditions, and Consumption: Evidence from South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages 161-196, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tony Hall & Jan Jacobs & Adrian Pagan, "undated". "Macro-Econometric System Modelling @75," NCER Working Paper Series 95, National Centre for Econometric Research.
    2. Anderson, Richard G. & Bordo, Michael & Duca, John V., 2017. "Money and velocity during financial crises: From the great depression to the great recession," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 32-49.
    3. Bonizzi, Bruno, 2017. "Institutional investors’ allocation to emerging markets: A panel approach to asset demand," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 47-64.
    4. Muellbauer, John, 2016. "Macroeconomics and Consumption," CEPR Discussion Papers 11588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. John Muellbauer, 2012. "When is a Housing Market Overheated Enough to Threaten Stability?," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Alexandra Heath & Frank Packer & Callan Windsor (ed.), Property Markets and Financial Stability Reserve Bank of Australia.
    6. Francesco Saraceno & Roberto Tamborini, 2015. "How can it work? On the impact of quantitative easing in the Eurozone," DEM Working Papers 2015/03, Department of Economics and Management.
    7. Muellbauer, John & Geiger, Felix & Rupprecht, Manuel, 2016. "The housing market, household portfolios and the German consumer," Working Paper Series 1904, European Central Bank.
    8. David Hendry & John Muellbauer, 2017. "The future of macroeconomics: Macro theory and models at the Bank of England," Economics Series Working Papers 832, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. John Muellbauer & Pierre St-Amant & David Williams, 2015. "Credit Conditions and Consumption, House Prices and Debt: What Makes Canada Different?," Staff Working Papers 15-40, Bank of Canada.
    10. Clancy, Daragh & Cussen, Mary & Lydon, Reamonn, 2014. "Housing Market Activity and Consumption: Macro and Micro Evidence," Research Technical Papers 13/RT/14, Central Bank of Ireland.

    More about this item


    Finance and the real economy; Financial crisis; Consumption; Credit constraints; Financial frictions; Household portfolios; Wealth effects; Modeling the flow of funds;

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • 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
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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