Discussion paper

DP11166 Deepening Contractions and Collateral Constraints

The skewness of the US business cycle has become increasingly negative over the last decades. This finding can be explained by the concurrent increases in the loan-to-value ratios of both households and firms. To demonstrate this point, we devise a DSGE model with collateralized borrowing and occasionally non-binding credit constraints. Easier credit access increases the likelihood that constraints become slack in the face of expansionary shocks, while contractionary shocks are further amplified due to tighter constraints. As a result, busts gradually become deeper than booms. Based on the differential impact that occasionally non-binding constraints exert on the shape of expansions and contractions, we are also able to reconcile a more negatively skewed business cycle with a moderation in its volatility. Finally, our model can account for an intrinsic feature of economic downturns preceded by private credit build-ups: Financially driven expansions lead to deeper contractions, as compared to equally-sized non-financial expansions.


Jensen, H, S Ravn and E Santoro (2016), ‘DP11166 Deepening Contractions and Collateral Constraints‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11166. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11166