NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Predictable Financial Crises

Robin Greenwood, Samuel G. Hanson, Andrei Shleifer, Jakob Ahm Sørensen

NBER Working Paper No. 27396
Issued in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance, Monetary Economics

Using historical data on post-war financial crises around the world, we show that crises are substantially predictable. The combination of rapid credit and asset price growth over the prior three years, whether in the nonfinancial business or the household sector, is associated with about a 40% probability of entering a financial crisis within the next three years. This compares with a roughly 7% probability in normal times, when neither credit nor asset price growth has been elevated. Our evidence cuts against the view that financial crises are unpredictable “bolts from the sky” and points toward the Kindleberger-Minsky view that crises are the byproduct of predictable, boom-bust credit cycles. The predictability we document favors macro-financial policies that “lean against the wind” of credit market booms.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27396

 
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