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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Anil K. Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Bank Lending," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 221-261 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1, 07.
  6. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle," Macroeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
  7. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "The role of credit market imperfections in the monetary transmission mechanism: arguments and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-5, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke, 1993. "Credit in the macroeconomy," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Spr, pages 50-70.
  11. 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.
  12. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Ryding, 1990. "Housing finance and the transmission of monetary policy," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sum, pages 42-55.
  14. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," Economics Series 10, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Egon Zakrajsek, 1997. "Retail inventories, internal finance, and aggregate fluctuations," Research Paper 9722, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  18. Kashyap, Anil K. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1995. "The impact of monetary policy on bank balance sheets," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 151-195, June.
  19. Jeremy C. Stein, 1995. "An Adverse Selection Model of Bank Asset and Liability Management with Implications for the Transmission of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Simon G. Gilchrist & Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1994. "The financial accelerator and the flight to quality," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "Is There a `Credit Channel' for Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Sims, Christopher A. & Zha, Tao, 2006. "Does Monetary Policy Generate Recessions?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 231-272, April.
  25. 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.
  26. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  27. 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.).
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Stein, Jeremy C, 1995. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Down-Payment Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 379-406, May.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
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