Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Is the financial crisis causing a recession?

Tatom, John (2008): Is the financial crisis causing a recession? Published in: Research Buzz , Vol. 4, No. 10 (19. December 2008): pp. 1-5.

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Abstract

The U.S. entered a recession in December 2007. Coming in train with a foreclosure crisis that began in late 2006 and its associated financial crisis that began in August 2007, there is a tendency for analysts to attribute the recession to the financial crisis. The worst aspects of the financial crisis that attract attention today did not begin until September 2008 well after the recession began. Other factors account for the recession and could portend the imminent end to the current recession. A leading candidate for the cause of the current recession is the Federal Reserve (Fed). The Fed has caused every post-world war II recession, according to most experts, especially Milton Friedman. In late 2006 there already were signs of a sharp slowing in money growth in place portending recession; see Tatom (2006). This slowing lasted until September 2008. The recent recession has also been influenced by sharp increase in oil prices in 2007-08 that raised the relative price of energy. Subsequently, oil prices fell sharply. Thus, like the monetary policy influence, the energy price shock influence on the recession is in the process of rapidly disappearing and reversing. This is similar to the oil price shock related to the first Kuwait-Iraq war in 1990-91 when a larger and faster run-up in oil prices created a recession followed by a quick reversal of oil prices and economic recovery. Oil prices are falling faster in the current recession from their peak in July 2008. If the Fed caused the current recession and energy prices made it worse and longer, and if there were no other factors influencing it, then a quick end could be in sight, in the first or second quarter of 2009.

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