Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 316 Abstract:
Financial crises are widely argued to be due to herd behavior. Yet recently developed models of herd behavior have been subjected to two critiques which seem to make them inapplicable to financial crises. Herds disappear from these models if two of their unappealing assumptions are modified: if their zero-one investment decisions are made continuous and if their investors are allowed to trade assets with market-determined prices. However, both critiques are overturned—herds reappear in these models—once another of their unappealing assumptions is modified: if, instead of moving in a prespecified order, investors can move whenever they choose.
Keyword: Financial collapse, Information cascades, and Capital flows Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F20 - International Factor Movements and International Business: General, F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General, and G15 - International Financial Markets
Creator: Bocola, Luigi and Lorenzoni, Guido Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 557 Abstract:
We study financial panics in a small open economy with floating exchange rates. In our model, bank runs trigger a decline in domestic wealth and a currency depreciation. Runs are more likely when banks have dollar debt. Dollar debt emerges endogenously in response to the precautionary motive of domestic savers: dollar savings provide insurance against crises; so when crises are possible it becomes relatively more expensive for banks to borrow in local currency, which gives them an incentive to issue dollar debt. This feedback between aggregate risk and savers’ behavior can generate multiple equilibria, with the bad equilibrium characterized by financial dollarization and the possibility of bank runs. A domestic lender of last resort can eliminate the bad equilibrium, but interventions need to be fiscally credible. Holding foreign currency reserves hedges the fiscal position of the government and enhances its credibility, thus improving financial stability.
Keyword: Lending of last resort, Foreign reserves, Financial crises, and Dollarization Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, G11 - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions, and G15 - International Financial Markets
Creator: Ordonez, Guillermo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 429 Abstract:
It is well known that movements in lending rates are asymmetric; they rise quickly and sharply, but fall slowly and gradually. Not known is the fact that the asymmetry is stronger the less developed a country’s financial system is. This new fact is here documented and explained in a model with an endogenous flow of information about economic conditions. The stronger asymmetry in less developed countries stems from their greater financial system frictions, such as monitoring and bankruptcy costs, which first magnify jumps of lending rates and then delay their recoveries by restricting the generation of information after the crisis. A quantitative exploration of the model shows the data are consistent with this explanation.
Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- and Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 211 Abstract:
We characterize the values of government debt and the debt’s maturity structure under which financial crises brought on by a loss of confidence in the government can arise within a dynamic, stochastic general equilibrium model. We also characterize the optimal policy response of the government to the threat of such a crisis. We show that when the country’s fundamentals place it inside the crisis zone, the government is motivated to reduce its debt and exit the crisis zone because this leads to an economic boom and a reduction in the interest rate on the government’s debt. We show that this reduction may be quite gradual if debt is high or the probability of a crisis is low. We also show that, while lengthening the maturity of the debt can shrink the crisis zone, credibility-inducing policies can have perverse effects.
Subject (JEL): H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
Creator: Bianchi, Javier and Mondragon, Jorge Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 755 Abstract:
This paper shows that the inability to use monetary policy for macroeconomic stabilization leaves a government more vulnerable to a rollover crisis. We study a sovereign default model with self-fulfilling rollover crises, foreign currency debt, and nominal rigidities. When the government lacks monetary autonomy, lenders anticipate that the government will face a severe recession in the event of a liquidity crisis, and are therefore more prone to run on government bonds. By contrast, a government with monetary autonomy can stabilize the economy and can easily remain immune to a rollover crisis. In a quantitative application, we find that the lack of monetary autonomy played a central role in making the Eurozone vulnerable to a rollover crisis. A lender of last resort can help ease the costs from giving up monetary independence.
Keyword: Sovereign debt crises, Rollover risk, and Monetary unions Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, G15 - International Financial Markets, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General
Creator: Ayres, João, Navarro, Gaston, Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 757 Abstract:
We explore quantitatively the possibility of multiple equilibria in a model of sovereign debt crises. The source of multiplicity is the one identified by Calvo (1988). This type of multiplicity has been at the heart of the policy debate through the recent European sovereign debt crisis. Key for multiplicity in the model is a stochastic process for output featuring long periods of either high or low growth. We calibrate the output process in the model using data for the southern European countries that were exposed to the debt crisis. We find that expectations-driven sovereign debt crises are empirically plausible, but only in periods of stagnation. Multiplicity is state dependent: in periods of stagnation and for intermediate levels of debt, interest rates may be high for reasons unrelated to fundamentals.
Keyword: Good and bad times, Multiplicity, Sovereign default, Self-fulfilling debt crises, and Stagnation Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy and F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
Creator: Koijen, Ralph S. J. and Yogo, Motohiro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 500 Abstract:
During the financial crisis, life insurers sold long-term policies at deep discounts relative to actuarial value. The average markup was as low as −19 percent for annuities and −57 percent for life insurance. This extraordinary pricing behavior was due to financial and product market frictions, interacting with statutory reserve regulation that allowed life insurers to record far less than a dollar of reserve per dollar of future insurance liability. We identify the shadow cost of capital through exogenous variation in required reserves across different types of policies. The shadow cost was $0.96 per dollar of statutory capital for the average company in November 2008.
Keyword: Life insurance, Financial crisis, Leverage, Annuities, and Capital regulation Subject (JEL): G28 - Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation, G22 - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Eisfeldt, Andrea L., and Weill, Pierre-Olivier Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 484 Abstract:
Building on the Merton (1974) and Leland (1994) structural models of credit risk, we develop a simple, transparent, and robust method for measuring the financial soundness of individual firms using data on their equity volatility. We use this method to retrace quantitatively the history of firms’ financial soundness during U.S. business cycles over most of the last century. We highlight three main findings. First, the three worst recessions between 1926 and 2012 coincided with insolvency crises, but other recessions did not. Second, fluctuations in asset volatility appear to drive variation in firms’ financial soundness. Finally, the financial soundness of financial firms largely resembles that of nonfinancial firms.
Keyword: Distance to Default, Volatility, Financial Frictions and Business Cycles, and Credit Risk Modeling Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Chari, V. V., Christiano, Lawrence J., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 666 Abstract:
The United States is indisputably undergoing a financial crisis and is perhaps headed for a deep recession. Here we examine three claims about the way the financial crisis is affecting the economy as a whole and argue that all three claims are myths. We also present three underappreciated facts about how the financial system intermediates funds between households and corporate businesses. Conventional analyses of the financial crisis focus on interest rate spreads. We argue that such analyses may lead to mistaken inferences about the real costs of borrowing and argue that, during financial crises, variations in the levels of nominal interest rates might lead to better inferences about variations in the real costs of borrowing. Moreover, we argue that even if current increase in spreads indicate increases in the riskiness of the underlying projects, by itself, this increase does not necessarily indicate the need for massive government intervention. We call for policymakers to articulate the precise nature of the market failure they see, to present hard evidence that differentiates their view of the data from other views which would not require such intervention, and to share with the public the logic and evidence that burnishes the case that the particular intervention they are advocating will fix this market failure.