Mapping Heat in the U.S. Financial System
72 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2015
Date Written: June 6, 2015
We provide a framework for assessing the build-up of vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system. We collect forty-four indicators of financial and balance sheet conditions, cutting across measures of valuation pressures, nonfinancial borrowing, and financial sector health. We place the data in economic categories, track their evolution, and develop an algorithmic approach to monitoring vulnerabilities that can complement the more judgmental approach of most official-sector organizations. Our approach picks up rising imbalances in the U.S. financial system through the mid-2000s, presaging the financial crisis. We also several statistical properties of our approach, most importantly, our summary measures of system-wide vulnerabilities lead the credit-to-GDP gap (a key gauge in Basel III and related research) by a year or more. Thus, our framework may provide useful information for setting macroprudential policy tools such as the countercyclical capital buffer.
Keywords: Early warning system, Financial crisis, Financial stability and risk, Financial vulnerabilities, Heat maps, Macroprudential policy, Systemic risk
JEL Classification: G01, G12, G21, G23, G28
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