International Recessions

The macro developments leading to the 2008 crisis were characterized by an unprecedented degree of international synchronization. All G7 countries experienced fast credit growth before the crisis, and right around the time of the Lehman bankruptcy, they all faced large contractions in both real and financial activity. We interpret this evidence using a two-country model with financial market frictions and conclude that the crisis was not likely driven by a US shock transmitted abroad, but rather was the consequence of a self-fulfilling shortage in global liquidity. Quantitative predictions of the model are also consistent with a number of features that are hallmarks of both the 2008 crisis and other financial crises episodes.