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Local banks, credit supply, and house prices
I study the effects of an increase in the supply of local mortgage credit on local house prices and employment by exploiting a natural experiment from Switzerland. In mid-2008, losses in U.S. security holdings triggered a migration of dissatisfied retail customers from a large, universal bank, UBS, to homogeneous local mortgage lenders. Mortgage lenders located close to UBS branches experienced larger inflows of deposits, regardless of their investment opportunities. Using variation in the geographic distance between UBS branches and local mortgage lenders as an instrument for deposit growth, ...
How Can Safe Asset Markets Be Fragile?
The market for U.S. Treasury securities experienced extreme stress in March 2020, when prices dropped precipitously (yields spiked) over a period of about two weeks. This was highly unusual, as Treasury prices typically increase during times of stress. Using a theoretical model, we show that markets for safe assets can be fragile due to strategic interactions among investors who hold Treasury securities for their liquidity characteristics. Worried about having to sell at potentially worse prices in the future, such investors may sell preemptively, leading to self-fulfilling “market runs” ...
The great escape? A quantitative evaluation of the Fed’s liquidity facilities
We introduce liquidity frictions into an otherwise standard DSGE model with nominal and real rigidities and ask: Can a shock to the liquidity of private paper lead to a collapse in short-term nominal interest rates and a recession like the one associated with the 2008 U.S. financial crisis? Once the nominal interest rate reaches the zero bound, what are the effects of interventions in which the government provides liquidity in exchange for illiquid private paper? We find that the effects of the liquidity shock can be large, and we show some numerical examples in which the liquidity facilities ...
Fragility of Safe Asset Markets
We model a safe asset market with investors valuing safety, investors valuing liquidity, and constrained dealers. While safety investors and liquidity investors can interact symbiotically with offsetting trades in times of stress, we show that liquidity investors’ strategic interaction harbors the potential for self-fulfilling fragility. Surprisingly, standard flight to safety in times of stress can have a destabilizing effect and trigger a dash for cash by liquidity investors. This explains how safe asset markets can experience price crashes, as in March 2020. The announcement and ...