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The Information in the High-Yield Bond Spread for the Business Cycle: Evidence and Some Implications

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  • Gertler, Mark
  • Lown, Cara S

Abstract

The market for high-yield (below-investment-grade) corporate bonds developed in the middle 1980s. We show that, since this time, the high-yield spread has had significant explanatory power for the business cycle. We interpret this finding as possibly symptomatic of financial factors at work in the business cycle, along the lines suggested by the financial accelerator. We also show that over this period the high-yield spread outperforms other leading financial indicators, including the term spread, the paper-bill spread, and the Federal Funds rate. We conjecture that changes in the conduct of monetary policy over time may account for the reduced informativeness of these alternative indicators, all of which are tied closely to monetary policy. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 15 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 132-50

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:15:y:1999:i:3:p:132-50

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  1. Benjamin M. Friedman & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1993. "Economic Activity and the Short-term Credit Markets: An Analysis of Prices and Quantities," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 193-284.
  2. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902, August.
  3. Benjamin M. Friedman & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1994. "Indicator properties of the paper-bill spread: lessons from recent experience," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Anil K Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein & David W. Wilcox, 1992. "Monetary Policy and Credit Conditions: Evidence From the Composition of External Finance," NBER Working Papers 4015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael Dotsey, 1998. "The predictive content of the interest rate term spread for future economic growth," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 31-51.
  6. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  7. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1, May.
  8. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  9. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1991. "Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 3400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
  11. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
  12. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1996. "Predicting U.S. recessions: financial variables as leading indicators," Research Paper 9609, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  13. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-21, September.
  14. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
  15. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Marc R. Saidenberg & Philip E. Strahan, 1999. "Are banks still important for financing large businesses?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 5(Jul).
  18. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Mark Watson, 1997. "Systematic Monetary Policy and the Effects of Oil Price Shocks," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 91-157.
  19. Friedman, Benjamin M & Kuttner, Kenneth N, 1992. "Money, Income, Prices, and Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 472-92, June.
  20. Ben S. Bernanke & Cara S. Lown, 1991. "The Credit Crunch," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 205-248.
  21. Muellbauer, John N J, 1996. "Income Persistence and Macro-Policy Feedbacks in the U.S," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(4), pages 703-33, November.
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  1. > Econometrics > Forecasting > Forecasting Economic Activity Using Financial Variables
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