Presenter: Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé
Affiliation: Columbia University, Department of Economics
Date: February 1st, 2022
Time: 13:00 GMT
Abstract: A central prediction of open economy models with a pecuniary externality due to a collateral constraint is that the unregulated economy overborrows relative to what occurs under optimal capital controls. A maintained assumption in this literature is that households borrow directly from foreign lenders. This paper shows that in a more realistic setting in which foreign lending to households is intermediated by domestic banks and in which the government has access to capital controls and interest on bank reserves, the unregulated economy underborrows. Under optimal policy, the central bank injects reserves during recessions. In this way, when the collateral constraint binds, the central bank uncouples household deleveraging from economy-wide deleveraging, which results in a higher average level of external debt. The paper documents that during the 2007-2009 global financial crisis the lending spread in emerging and developed economies displayed a muted response. This fact is consistent with a decline in the demand rather than in the supply of loans and gives credence to models in which the collateral constraint is placed at the level of the nonfinancial sector as opposed to at the level of the bank.