I think we should just trash the idea that this crisis was unprecedented and no one could have predicted the set of events. It is basically that there were a few economists that saw events coming, it is just that they were ignored. I had written a long article on 3 economists who predicted the crisis/ recession in different ways which I am linking below. However, the list seems to grow as Mark Carney of Bank of Canada points in a speech:
Few forecast these events; although, in an outbreak of retrospective foresight, an increasing number now claim they saw it coming. The reality is that among all the banks, investors, academics and policy-makers, only a handful were able to identify ahead of time the causes and potential scale of the crisis.
(The Handful were - Bill White, formerly of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank for International Settlements; Harvard University’s Ken Rogoff; Nouriel Roubini of New York University; Wynne Godley of Cambridge; and Bernard Connolly of AIG Financial Products).
I came across this paper by Caludio Borio of BIS:
Since the 1980s, a number of episodes of financial market distress have underscored the importance of the smooth functioning of markets for the stability of the financial system. At the heart of these episodes was a sudden and drastic reduction in market liquidity, characterised by disorderly adjustments in asset prices, a sharp increase in the costs of executing transactions and, in the most acute cases, a “seizing up” of markets.
This essay explores the anatomy of market distress as well as the policy options to address it. It argues that, despite appearances, the genesis and dynamics of market distress resemble quite closely those of banking distress and that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the growth of markets for tradable instruments, and hence the greater scope to sell assets and raise cash, need not have reduced the likelihood of funding (liquidity) crises.
Read the entire paper and it is like deja-vu for you. This grudge from William White (one of the people who sw things coming) who is Borio’s colleague (discussed in Bernanke’s profile):
Between 2004 and 2007, White and his colleagues continued to warn about the global credit boom, but they were largely ignored in the United States. “In the field of economics, American academics have such a large reputation that they sweep all before them,” White said. “If you add to that the personal reputation of the Maestro”—Greenspan—“it was very difficult for anybody else to come in and say there are problems building.”
The three men who predicted US crisis