DP8322 Credit Channels in a Liquidity Trap

Author(s): Karel Mertens, Morten O Ravn
Publication Date: April 2011
Keyword(s): collateral constraint, expectations, housing, leverage, liquidity trap
JEL(s): E2, E3, E5
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8322

We study liquidity trap dynamics driven by nonfundamental shifts in expectations in a model with nominal rigidities, housing, credit frictions and a Taylor rule. Highly leveraged borrowing through nominal debt backed by real estate collateral greatly magnifies the decline in output and house prices during a liquidity trap recession. The amplification mechanism is much smaller when there is no feedback from house prices to the borrowing constraint, when debt is real rather nominal, and when leverage is small. We argue that the liquidity trap dynamics share some important features with the recent US recession and that high levels of leverage may have made the economy sensitive to expectations induced liquidity traps.