by Susan Lund and Charles Roxburgh, McKinsey Global Institute
New research from the McKinsey Global Institute shows that the right tools could have identified the recent global credit bubble years before the crisis broke.
As policy makers and business leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland, this week, much of their conversation will no doubt focus on how to drive a global economic recovery. Yet they should spend just as much time and energy discussing how to prevent the next devastating financial crisis—specifically, how to spot and prick asset bubbles as they are inflating.
For many years, some of the world’s most prominent central bankers said doing so was impossible. However, new research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that rising leverage is a good proxy for an asset bubble—and that the right tools could have identified the recent global credit bubble years before the crisis broke. We urge policy makers to develop these tools and use them to ensure a more stable financial system, thereby avoiding more of the widespread pain and suffering caused by the current crisis.
To spot a bubble, we need to know how much debt is too much.