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Credit Channel or Credit Actions? An Interpretation of the Postwar Transmission Mechanism

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  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

Abstract

This paper shows that the disproportionate impact of tight monetary policy on banks' ability to lend is largely the consequence of Federal Reserve actions aimed at reducing bank loans directly, rather than an inherent feature of the monetary transmission mechanism. We provide two types of evidence for this conclusion. First, a detailed examination of nine postwar episodes of contractionary monetary policy shows that while short-term interest rates always rose in response to tight policy, banks typically found ways of maintaining lending despite the falls in reserves. Banks' ability to lend was particularly affected by tight policy only when the Federal Reserve undertook actions, such as special reserve requirements, moral suasion, or explicit credit controls, to restrain bank lending directly. Second, simple regressions show that Federal Reserve credit actions have large and significant effects on the composition of external finance between bank loans and commercial paper and on the spread between the prime bank loan rate and the commercial paper rate, and that a bank credit channel of monetary transmission is not needed to explain the movements in these variables in response to tight policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4485.

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Date of creation: Oct 1993
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Publication status: published as Changing Capital Markets: Implications for Monetary Policy: The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, August 19-21, 1993.pp. 71-116
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4485

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  1. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Working Papers 2966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen D. Oliner & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1996. "Is there a broad credit channel for monetary policy?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 3-13.
  3. Jeffrey A. Miron & Christina D. Romer & David N. Weil, 1993. "Historical Perspectives on the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 4326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard Cantor & John Wenninger, 1993. "Perspective on the credit slowdown," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Spr, pages 3-36.
  5. John H. Boyd & Mark Gertler, 1993. "U.S. Commercial Banking: Trends, Cycles, and Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1993, Volume 8, pages 319-377 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1993. " The Role of Credit Market Imperfections in the Monetary Transmission Mechanism: Arguments and Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 43-64.
  7. 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.
  8. Albert M. Wojnilower, 1980. "The Central Role of Credit Crunches in Recent Financial History," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 11(2), pages 277-340.
  9. Raymond E. Owens & Stacey L. Schreft, 1995. "Identifying Credit Crunches," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(2), pages 63-76, 04.
  10. Anil Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Monetary Policy and Bank Lending," NBER Working Papers 4317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.).
  13. 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.
  14. Barry Bosworth, 1989. "Institutional Change and the Efficacy of Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 77-124.
  15. Kashyap, Anil K & Lamont, Owen A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1994. "Credit Conditions and the Cyclical Behavior of Inventories," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 565-92, August.
  16. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1988. "Credit, Money, and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 435-39, May.
  17. 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.
  18. Ben S. Bernanke, 1993. "Credit in the macroeconomy," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Spr, pages 50-70.
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Cited by:
  1. Barth, Marvin J III & Ramey, Valerie A, 2000. "The Cost Channel of Monetary Transmissions," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7rm5q9sk, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. Barran, Fernando & Kegels, Chantal, 1996. "Channels of Monetary Policy in a Transition Country: Hungary," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1996016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Smant, David / D.J.C., 2002. "Bank credit in the transmission of monetary policy: A critical review of the issues and evidence," MPRA Paper 19816, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. John H. Boyd & Mark Gertler, 1994. "Are banks dead? Or are the reports greatly exaggerated?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-23.
  5. McMillin, W. Douglas, 1996. "Monetary policy and bank portfolios," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 315-335, October.
  6. Perera, Anil & Ralston, Deborah & Wickramanayake, J., 2014. "Impact of off-balance sheet banking on the bank lending channel of monetary transmission: Evidence from South Asia," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 195-216.
  7. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1994. "What Ends Recessions?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 13-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-72, June.
  9. Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2003. "Le emissioni delle banche italiane sull' euromercato," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 56(224), pages 461-480.
  10. Menzie Chinn & Michael Dooley, 1995. "National, regional and international capital markets: Measurement and implications for domestic financial fragility," International Finance 9508006, EconWPA.
  11. Menzie Chinn & Michael Dooley, 1995. "Asia-Pacific Capital Markets: Measurement of Integration and the Implications for Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 5280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ingo Fender, 2000. "Corporate hedging: the impact of financial derivatives on the broad credit channel of monetary policy," BIS Working Papers 94, Bank for International Settlements.
  13. Yungsan Kim & Woon Gyu Choi, 2003. "Trade Credit and the Effect of Macro-Financial Shocks," IMF Working Papers 03/127, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Gerald Caprio & Michael Dooley & Danny Leipziger & Carl Walsh, 1996. "The lender of last resort function under a currency board: The case of Argentina," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 625-650, March.

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