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Financial Fragility and Economic Performance

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  • Bernanke, Ben
  • Gertler, Mark

Abstract

Financial stability is an important goal of policy, but the relation of financial stability to economic performance and even the meaning of the term itself are poorly understood. This paper explores these issues in a theoretical model. The authors argue that financial instability, or fragility, occurs when entrepreneurs who want to undertake investment projects have low net worth; the heavy reliance on external finance that this implies causes the agency costs of investment to be high. High agency costs in turn lead to low and inefficient investment. Standard policies for fighting financial fragility can be interpreted as transfers that maintain or increase the net worth of potential borrowers. Copyright 1990, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 105 (1990)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 87-114

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:1:p:87-114

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  1. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  2. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  3. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Financial Intermediation, Business Failures, and Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1196-1216, December.
  4. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  5. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1986. "The Allocation of Credit and Financial Collapse," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 455-70, August.
  6. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  7. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  8. Farmer, Roger E A, 1984. "A New Theory of Aggregate Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 920-30, December.
  9. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  10. Smith, Bruce, 1983. "Limited Information, Credit Rationing, and Optimal Government Lending Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 305-18, June.
  11. Boyd, John H. & Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Financial intermediary-coalitions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 211-232, April.
  12. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  13. Otto Eckstein & Allen Sinai, 1986. "The Mechanisms of the Business Cycle in the Postwar Era," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 39-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  16. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Debunking Keen on Bernanke: The issue of debt deflation
    by Matt Nolan in TVHE on 2012-09-12 03:47:20
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