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International Recessions

Staff Report 463 | Published November 30, 2011

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International Recessions


The 2007–2009 crisis was characterized by an unprecedented degree of international synchronization as all major industrialized countries experienced large macroeconomic contractions around the date of Lehman bankruptcy. At the same time countries also experienced large and synchronized tightening of credit conditions. We present a two-country model with financial market frictions where a credit tightening can emerge as a self-fulfilling equilibrium caused by pessimistic but fully rational expectations. As a result of the credit tightening, countries experience large and endogenously synchronized declines in asset prices and economic activity (international recessions). The model suggests that these recessions are more severe if they happen after a prolonged period of credit expansion.

Published in: _American Economic Review_ (Vol. 108, No. 4/5, April 2018, pp. 935-984)