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Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings and the Liquidity Trap

  • Guido Lorenzoni

    (MIT)

  • Veronica Guerrieri

    (Chicago)

We use a model a la Bewly-Huggett-Ayagari to explore the effects of a credit crunch on consumer spending. Households borrow and lend to smooth idiosyncratic income shocks facing an exogenous borrowing constraint. We look at the economy response after an unexpected permananent tightening of this constraint. The interest rate drops sharply in the short run and then adjusts to a lower steady state level. This is due to the fact that after the shock a large fraction of agents is far below their target holdings of precautionary savings and this generates a large temporary positive shock to net lending. We then look at the effects on output. Here two opposing forces are present, as households can deleverage in two ways: by consuming less and by working more. We show that under a reasonable parametrization the effect on consumer spending dominates and precautionary behavior generates a recession. If we add nominal rigidities two things happen: (i) the demand-side dominates output dynamics, and (ii) there is a lower bound on the interest rate adjustment. These two elements tend to amplify the recession caused by the credit tightening.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 1414.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1414
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Thomas Philippon & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2011. "Household Leverage and the Recession," 2011 Meeting Papers 261, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Urban Jermann & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2009. "Macroeconomic Effects of Financial Shocks," NBER Working Papers 15338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Gertler, Mark & Karadi, Peter, 2011. "A model of unconventional monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 17-34, January.
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  14. Xavier Ragot & Edouard Challe, 2011. "Precautionary Saving over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 517, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2009. "Liquidity and Trading Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1751-1790, November.
  16. Flodén, Martin & Linde, Jesper, 1998. "Idiosyncratic Risk in the U.S. and Sweden: Is there a Role for Government Insurance?," Seminar Papers 654, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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  18. Francisco J. Buera & Benjamin Moll, 2012. "Aggregate Implications of a Credit Crunch," NBER Working Papers 17775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Matteo Iacoviello, 2005. "House Prices, Borrowing Constraints, and Monetary Policy in the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 739-764, June.
  20. Joseph Gruber & Robert Martin, 2003. "Precautionary savings and the wealth distribution with illiquid durables," International Finance Discussion Papers 773, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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