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Monetary Policy, Business Cycles and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms

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  • Mark Gertler
  • Simon Gilchrist

Abstract

We present evidence on the cyclical behavior of small versus large manufacturing firms, and on the response of the two classes of firms to monetary policy. Our goal is to take a step toward quantifying the role of credit market imperfections in the business cycle and in the monetary transmission mechanism. We find that, following tight money, small firms sales decline at a faster pace than large firm sales for a period of more than two years. Further, bank lending to small firms contracts, while it actually rises for large firms. Monetary policy indicators tied to the performance of banking, such as M2, have relatively greater predictive power for small firms than for large. Finally, small firms are more sensitive than are large to lagged movements in GNP. Considering that small firms overall are a non-trivial component of the economy, we interpret these results as suggestive of the macroeconomic relevance of credit market imperfections.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3892.

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Date of creation: Nov 1991
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3892

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  1. Ben S. Bernanke, 1990. "On the predictive power of interest rates and interest rate spreads," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 51-68.
  2. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 121-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Charles W. Calomiris & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and `Credit Rationing'," NBER Working Papers 2497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Fuerst, Timothy S., 1992. "Liquidity, loanable funds, and real activity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 3-24, February.
  9. Alan S. Blinder & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 1084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  11. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  12. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
  13. Ramey, Valerie A., 1992. "The source of fluctuations in money : Evidence from trade credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 171-193, November.
  14. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  16. Christopher A. Sims, 1980. "Comparison of Interwar and Postwar Business Cycles: Monetarism Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 0430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1990. "New Evidence on the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 149-214.
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