Chris Van Es

La política perversa de la crisis financiera

CHICAGO – Si tratamos de entender el patrón de las intervenciones gubernamentales y sus tiempos durante una crisis financiera, probablemente arribaremos a la conclusión de que, parafraseando al filósofo francés Blaise Pascal, la política tiene incentivos que la economía no es capaz de entender.

Desde un punto de vista económico, el problema es simple. Cuando la solvencia de un deudor soberano se ha deteriorado lo suficiente, su supervivencia depende de las expectativas de mercado. Si todos esperan que Italia sea solvente, le prestarán a tasas de interés bajas. Italia podrá cumplir con sus obligaciones actuales y, muy probablemente, también con sus obligaciones futuras. Pero si muchos comienzan a dudar de la solvencia italiana y exigen primas altas en sus créditos, su déficit fiscal nacional empeorará, y muy probablemente entre en cesación de pagos.

Que un deudor como Italia aterrice en la tierra de las buenas expectativas o se hunda en un escenario de pesadilla a menudo depende de ciertas «noticias de coordinación». Si todos esperan que una reclasificación crediticia negativa convierta a la deuda italiana en insostenible, seguramente Italia entre en cesación de pagos luego de la reclasificación, sin importar los efectos económicos reales del nuevo estado de su deuda. Esta es la maldición que los economistas llamamos equilibrios múltiples: si espero a que los demás corran hacia la salida, correr también resulta un óptimo para mí; pero si todos mantienen la calma, no tengo incentivos para hacer algo distinto que la mayoría.

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