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Central Banks Caught Between Market Liquidity and Fiscal Disciplining: A Money View Perspective on Collateral Policy

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By helping abate the liquidity crisis, incidences of banks becoming insolvent are reduced, and hence moral hazard in its severest form is minimized.

Despite much attention to unconventional monetary policies after the financial crisis, the collateral policies of central banks are rarely discussed. And when they are, the haircuts applied to assets pledged to access central bank liquidity tend not to be analyzed. An exception to these trends is the recent work by Nyborg (2017), who argues that the collateral policies adopted by the European Central Bank (ECB) aggravated the sovereign debt crisis and put the survival of the euro at risk. Taking our point of departure in the money view literature (Mehrling 2011), we argue however that Nyborg’s critique of the ECB’s crisis response is misguided and that his proposal to deepen and reinforce the ECB’s role in the fiscal disciplining of member states would be procyclical and destabilizing. Through our analysis of Nyborg’s work and the ECBs crisis response, we identify core principles for countercyclical collateral policies suitable for market-based financial systems.