Staff Reports
Credit Spreads, Financial Crises, and Macroprudential Policy
November 2016 Number 802
Revised April 2017
JEL classification: E32, E44, F41

Authors: Ozge Akinci and Albert Queralto

Credit spreads display occasional spikes and are more strongly countercyclical in times of financial stress. Financial crises are extreme cases of this nonlinear behavior, featuring skyrocketing credit spreads, sharp losses in bank equity, and deep recessions. We develop a macroeconomic model with a banking sector in which banks’ leverage constraints are occasionally binding and equity issuance is endogenous. The model captures the nonlinearities in the data and produces quantitatively realistic crises. Precautionary equity issuance makes crises infrequent but does not prevent them altogether. When determining the intensity of capital requirements, the macroprudential authority faces a trade-off between the benefits of reducing the risk of a financial crisis and the welfare losses associated with banks’ constrained ability to finance risky capital investments.

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