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Default Cycles

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  • Leo Kaas

    (University of Konstanz)

  • Wei Cui

    (University College London)

Abstract

Corporate default rates are counter-cyclical and are often accompanied by declines of business credit over prolonged episodes. This paper develops a tractable macroeconomic model in which persistent credit and default cycles are the outcome of variations in self-fulfilling beliefs about credit market conditions. Interest spreads and leverage ratios are determined in optimal credit contracts that reflect the expected default risk of borrowing firms. Next to sunspot shocks, the model also features shocks to recovery rates and to financial intermediation costs. We calibrate the model to evaluate the impact of these different financial shocks on the credit market and on output dynamics. Self-fulfilling changes in credit market expectations trigger sizable reactions in default rates and generate endogenously persistent credit and output cycles. All credit market shocks together account for over 50% of the variation of U.S. GDP growth during 1982-2015.

Suggested Citation

  • Leo Kaas & Wei Cui, 2017. "Default Cycles," 2017 Meeting Papers 1288, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed017:1288
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • 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
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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