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Asymmetry in the prime rate and firms' preference for internal finance

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  • Michael Dueker
  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

This article tests for asymmetry in thebehavior of bank lending rates by testing the hypothesis that the prime rate responds more fully and quickly to increase than decreases in market interest rates. The econometric methodology used is better suited to the discreteness and rigidity of the prime rate than that of previous studies. Our results suggest that banks adjust the prime rate asymmetrically in response to change in the discount rate, the commercial paper rate, and the spread between the prime and commercial paper rates. Asymmetry in bank lending rates is implied by several explanations for the preference among small firms for internal finance. Asymmetry in bank lending rates may result from the fact that individual banks have acquired costly information which prevents their customers from responding quickly to changes in loan terms, or it may stem from a cyclical "lemons" premium resulting from informational asymmetries [Oliner and Rudebusch (1992)]. Either way, asymmetric behavior of bank lending rates, such as the prime rate, may be part of a more complete explanation of small firms' preference for internal finance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 1994-017.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1994-017

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Keywords: Corporations - Finance ; Prime rate;

References

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  1. Cover, James Peery, 1992. "Asymmetric Effects of Positive and Negative Money-Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1261-82, November.
  2. Forbes, Shawn M. & Mayne, Lucille S., 1989. "A friction model of the prime," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 127-135, March.
  3. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
  4. Anil K. Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein & David W. Wilcox, 1991. "Monetary policy and credit conditions: evidence from the composition of external finance," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 154, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Timothy H. Hannan, 1989. "Foundations of the structure-conduct-performance paradigm," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 83, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Ben S. Bernanke & Alan S. Blinder, 1989. "The federal funds rate and the channels of monetary transmission," Working Papers 89-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. Rajan, Raghuram G, 1992. " Insiders and Outsiders: The Choice between Informed and Arm's-Length Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1367-400, September.
  8. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1993. "Evidence on the role of cash flow for investment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-7, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Hausman, J.A. & Lo, A.W. & MacKinlay, A.C., 1991. "An Ordered Probit Analysis of Transaction Stock Prices," Weiss Center Working Papers 26-91, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  10. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-40, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1993. "Working Capital and Fixed Investment: New Evidence on Financing Constraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 328-342, Autumn.
  13. Hannan, Timothy H, 1991. "Foundations of the Structure-Conduct-Performance Paradigm in Banking," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(1), pages 68-84, February.
  14. Cook, Timothy & Hahn, Thomas, 1988. "The Information Content of Discount Rate Announcements and Their Effect on Market Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 167-80, May.
  15. Thornton, Daniel L, 1994. "Why Do T-Bill Rates React to Discount Rate Changes?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(4), pages 839-50, November.
  16. Stephen D. Oliner & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1993. "Is there a bank credit channel for monetary policy?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-8, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Donald P. Morgan, 1992. "Are bank loans a force in monetary policy?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 31-41.
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Cited by:
  1. Kobayashi, Teruyoshi, 2009. "Announcements and the effectiveness of monetary policy: A view from the US prime rate," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2253-2266, December.

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