By Moritz Schularick, Alan Taylor
The central part played by credit in the deep downturn and weak recovery fits a recurring historical pattern. Financial crises correlate with more painful recessions. This column takes a close look at 14 advanced economies over the past 140 years and shows that larger credit booms during expansions have been systematically associated with more severe and prolonged slumps. In short, credit bites back. Measured against the historical benchmark, the recent US recovery has been far better than could have been expected.