Discussion paper

DP12188 When to Lean Against the Wind

This paper shows that policy-makers can distinguish between good and bad credit booms with high accuracy and they can do so in real time. Evidence from 17 countries over nearly 150 years of modern financial history shows that credit booms that are
accompanied by house price booms and a rising loan-to-deposit-ratio are much more likely to end in a systemic banking crisis. We evaluate the predictive accuracy for different classification models and show that the characteristics of the credit boom
contain valuable information for sorting the data into good and bad booms. Importantly, we demonstrate that policy-makers have the ability to spot dangerous credit booms on the basis of data available in real time. We also show that these results are robust across alternative specifications and time-periods.


Schularick, M, P Wachtel and B Richter (2017), ‘DP12188 When to Lean Against the Wind‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12188. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12188