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

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  • Mark Gertler
  • Cara S. Lown

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7549.

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Date of creation: Feb 2000
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Publication status: published as Gertler, Mark & Lown, Cara S, 1999. "The Information in the High-Yield Bond Spread for the Business Cycle: Evidence and Some Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 132-50, Autumn.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7549

Note: AG EFG ME
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  1. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1991. "Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 69-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.).
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  7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1994. "The effects of monetary policy shocks: evidence from the flow of funds," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Apr.
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  12. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  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.
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  16. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 193-225, March.
  17. 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.
  18. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1.
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  21. 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.
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  1. > Econometrics > Forecasting > Forecasting Economic Activity Using Financial Variables
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