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All Fall Down

Debt, Deregulation and Financial Crises

Jane D’Arista

All Fall Down traces the ways in which changes in financial structure and regulation eroded monetary control and led to historically high levels of debt relative to GDP in both developed and emerging economies. Rising stocks of debt drove the global financial system into crisis in 2008 when households, businesses, financial institutions and the public sector in some countries strained to generate sufficient income for debt service. The stagnation and fall in asset prices that followed began the process of unwinding that led to a run on the financial sector by the financial sector.
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Chapter 22: Monetary tools: what they are and how they function

Jane D’Arista


The Federal Reserve creates or extinguishes reserves as central bank liabilities by using open market operations to add or subtract assets from its balance sheet — a tool it began to use to implement countercyclical policy in the 1920s. Abandonment of reserve requirements as a key policy tool was largely due to the expansion of the unregulated offshore markets but also due to banks’ strategies to evade reserve requirements in the home market. Other tools critical to policy implementation include discount window operations that served as the channel for the Fed to act as lender of last resort in supplying emergency liquidity in the 1930s, open market operations to maintain the policy rate at the desired level, and macroprudential tools such as capital and liquidity requirements, limits on leverage, loan loss reserves, loan-to-value ratios, and similar constraints.

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