- 季刊経済理論 (ISSN:18825184)
- vol.52, no.3, pp.19-31, 2015-10-20 (Released:2017-09-19)
This paper examines the Subprime Mortgage Crisis as a Minsky Crisis by reexamining Minsky's Financial Instability Hypothesis. The fundamental proposition of the Financial Instability Hypothesis is that "Stability is destabilizing". When we re-examine the process of endogenous destabilization of the financial structure in the capitalist economy from the point of view of financial innovation, it reveals that financial innovations deploy "speculative finance" and "Ponzi finance." Increasing investment to specific capital assets requires new financial products that overcome regulation constraints. New financial products also must have acceptable yield and maturity both for lenders and borrowers. Financial instability develops in periods of "tranquility" when decreasing liquidity preferences attracts economic entities to obtain alternative assets with high interests instead of cash and demand deposits. In this process financial innovations are carried out and a pyramiding of liquid assets is built. However, the chain of financial contracts made in pyramiding of liquid assets increases likelihood of a serious liquidity crisis by the liquidity shortage of central financial institutions or financial markets. It means that financial innovation endogenously increase financial instability. Since 2000s, a huge pyramiding of liquid assets which is called the Originate-to-Distribute (OTD) Model had been created. In the OTD model, subprime mortgages loan originated by commercial banks were converted into CDO. Off-balance sheet entities of commercial banks and hedge funds bought the majority of AAA tranches. Re-securitization made it possible for them to produce large amounts of short-term financial assets from long-term financial assets and to raise funds from MMMF and Securities Lenders in short term using such as repo and ABCP. MMMF raised funds from selling the shares to households and firms. Securities Lenders raised funds from long-term savings of the household sector. However, the downgrading of subprime MBS by rating agencies since June 2007 invoked liquidity crisis in the CP market and the repo market. It made it impossible for off-balance sheet entities of commercial banks and hedge funds to raise funds in those markets. Money center banks which provided liquidity support to off-balance sheet entities and investment banks which provided fund to hedge funds through repo and prime brokerage made losses. Collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 caused run on MMMF and Securities Lenders. The run reduced investment and exacerbated the liquidity crisis further. In short, the OTD Model which constituted of banks, off-balance entities, hedge funds, MMF and Securities Lenders formed a chain of financial contracts to earn interests from the interest gaps. This scheme made financial structure vulnerable to liquidity shortage. The chain of financial contracts was collapsed by downgrading of subprime MBS. This entailed huge liquidity crisis and severe depression. I conclude from the point of endogenous destabilization that Subprime Mortgage Crisis is one of a Minsky Crisis.