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Jel Classification:N20 

Working Paper
Sovereigns versus Banks: Credit, Crises, and Consequences

Two separate narratives have emerged in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. One speaks of private financial excess and the key role of the banking system in leveraging and deleveraging the economy. The other emphasizes the public sector balance sheet over the private and worries about the risks of lax fiscal policies. However, the two may interact in important and understudied ways. This paper studies the co-evolution of public and private sector debt in advanced countries since 1870. We find that in advanced economies financial stability risks have come from private sector credit booms ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2013-37

Working Paper
The Total Risk Premium Puzzle?

The risk premium puzzle is worse than you think. Using a new database for the U.S. and 15 other advanced economies from 1870 to the present that includes housing as well as equity returns (to capture the full risky capital portfolio of the representative agent), standard calculations using returns to total wealth and consumption show that: housing returns in the long run are comparable to those of equities, and yet housing returns have lower volatility and lower covariance with consumption growth than equities. The same applies to a weighted total-wealth portfolio, and over a range of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2019-10

Working Paper
Global Financial Cycles and Risk Premiums

This paper studies the synchronization of financial cycles across 17 advanced economies over the past 150 years. The comovement in credit, house prices, and equity prices has reached historical highs in the past three decades. The sharp increase in the comovement of global equity markets is particularly notable. We demonstrate that fluctuations in risk premiums, and not risk-free rates and dividends, account for a large part of the observed equity price synchronization after 1990. We also show that U.S. monetary policy has come to play an important role as a source of fluctuations in risk ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2018-5

Working Paper
The impact of risk cycles on business cycles: a historical view

We investigate the effects of financial risk cycles on business cycles, using a panel spanning 73 countries since 1900. Agents use a Bayesian learning model to form their beliefs on risk. We construct a proxy of these beliefs and show that perceived low risk encourages risk-taking, augmenting growth at the cost of accumulating financial vulnerabilities, and therefore, a reversal in growth follows. The reversal is particularly pronounced when the low-risk environment persists and credit growth is excessive. Global-risk cycles have a stronger effect on growth than local-risk cycles via their ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1358

Working Paper
A Brief History of the U.S. Regulatory Perimeter

This paper provides a brief history of the U.S. financial regulatory perimeter, a legal cordon comprised of “positive†and “negative†restrictions on the conduct of banking organizations. Today’s regulatory perimeter faces a wide range of challenges, from disaggregation, to new commercial entrants, to new varieties of charters (and new uses of legacy charters). We situate these challenges in the longer history of American banking, identifying a pattern in debates about the nature, shape, and position of the perimeter: outside-in pressure, inside-out pressure, and ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-051

Working Paper
How Cyclical Is Bank Capital?

Using annual data since 1834 and quarterly data since 1959, I find a negative correlation between output and current and lagged values of the bank capital ratio, but a positive correlation with leading values, although except for the period since 1996 the numbers are mostly small and usually insignificant. The most significant correlations tend to reflect movements in bank assets, rather than capital itself, and although the pattern of aggregate correlations matches those of large banks, small banks show a different pattern, with strongly pro-cyclical capital ratios (counter-cyclical ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-04R

Working Paper
Money, Banking, and Old-School Historical Economics

We review developments in the history of money, banking, and financial intermediation over the last twenty years. We focus on studies of financial development, including the role of regulation and the history of central banking. We also review the literature of banking and financial crises. This area has been largely unaffected by the so-called new econometric methods that seek to prove causality in reduced form settings. We discuss why historical macroeconomics is less amenable to such methods, discuss the underlying concepts of causality, and emphasize that models remain the backbone of our ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-28

Central bank macroeconomic forecasting during the global financial crisis: the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve Bank of New York experiences

This paper documents macroeconomic forecasting during the global financial crisis by two key central banks: the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The paper is the result of a collaborative effort between the two institutions, allowing us to study the time-stamped forecasts as they were made throughout the crisis. The analysis does not focus exclusively on point forecast performance. It also examines density forecasts, as well as methodological contributions, including how financial market data could have been incorporated into the forecasting process.
Staff Reports , Paper 680

Working Paper
Unprecedented actions: the Federal Reserve’s response to the global financial crisis in historical perspective

Interventions by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 were generally viewed as unprecedented and in violation of the rules---notably Bagehot?s rule---that a central bank should follow to avoid the time-inconsistency problem and moral hazard. Reviewing the evidence for central banks? crisis management in the U.S., the U.K. and France from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, we find that there were precedents for all of the unusual actions taken by the Fed. When these were successful interventions, they followed contingent and target rules ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 209

Who Can Tell Which Banks Will Fail?

We use the German Crisis of 1931, a key event of the Great Depression, to study how depositors behave during a bank run in the absence of deposit insurance. We find that deposits decline by around 20 percent during the run and that there is an equal outflow of retail and nonfinancial wholesale deposits from both ex-post failing and surviving banks. This implies that regular depositors are unable to identify failing banks. In contrast, the interbank market precisely identifies which banks will fail: the interbank market collapses for failing banks entirely but continues to function for ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1005


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