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Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission

  • Ben S. Bernanke
  • Mark Gertler

The 'credit channel' theory of monetary policy transmission holds that informational frictions in credit markets worsen during tight-money periods. The resulting increase in the external finance premium--the difference in cost between internal and external funds--enhances the effects of monetary policy on the real economy. The authors document the responses of GDP and its components to monetary policy shocks and describe how the credit channel helps explain the facts. They discuss two main components of this mechanism, the balance sheet and bank lending channels. The authors argue that forecasting exercises using credit aggregates are not valid tests of this theory.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.9.4.27
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 9 (1995)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 27-48

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:9:y:1995:i:4:p:27-48
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.4.27
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  1. Chah, Eun Young & Ramey, Valerie A & Starr, Ross M, 1995. "Liquidity Constraints and Intertemporal Consumer Optimization: Theory and Evidence from Durable Goods," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 272-87, February.
  2. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  3. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bernanke, Ben S., 1993. "How important is the credit channel in the transmission of monetary policy? : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 47-52, December.
  5. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. John Ryding, 1990. "Housing finance and the transmission of monetary policy," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sum, pages 42-55.
  7. Christopher A. Sims, 1992. "Interpreting the Macroeconomic Time Series Facts: The Effects of Monetary Policy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1011, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
  9. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1996. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-15, February.
  10. Anil Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Monetary Policy and Bank Lending," NBER Working Papers 4317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jeremy C. Stein, 1998. "An Adverse-Selection Model of Bank Asset and Liability Management with Implications for the Transmission of Monetary Policy," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 466-486, Autumn.
  12. Ben S. Bernanke, 1993. "Credit in the macroeconomy," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Spr, pages 50-70.
  13. Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Downpayment Effects," NBER Working Papers 4373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Sims, Christopher A. & Zha, Tao, 2006. "Does Monetary Policy Generate Recessions?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 231-272, April.
  15. Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "How Important is the Credit Channel in the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
  17. Anil K Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "The Impact of Monetary Policy on Bank Balance Sheets," NBER Working Papers 4821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Anil K. Kashyap & Owen A. Lamont & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Credit conditions and the cyclical behavior of inventories," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 93-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  19. 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.
  20. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902, August.
  21. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  22. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1.
  23. Stephen D. Oliner & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1994. "Is there a broad credit channel for monetary policy?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 146, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "Is There a `Credit Channel' for Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Egon Zakrajsek, 1997. "Retail inventories, internal finance, and aggregate fluctuations," Research Paper 9722, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1994. "Identification and the effects of monetary policy shocks," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  31. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle," Macroeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
  32. 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.
  33. Steven Strongin, 1992. "The identification of monetary policy disturbances: explaining the liquidity puzzle," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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