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Distress in the Financial Sector and Economic Activity

Author

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  • Carlson Mark A

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)

  • King Thomas

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)

  • Lewis Kurt

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)

Abstract

We construct daily market-based measures of distance to default for large U.S. financial institutions since 1973. These measures have significant predictive power for institution bankruptcy more than one year in advance. We aggregate the distances to default across institutions to provide an index of the overall health of the financial-services industry. We show that deteriorations in this Financial Institution Health Index are associated with tighter lending standards and higher interest rates on bank loans and precede declines in employment and industrial production. We argue that this points to the condition of financial institutions as an independent source of macroeconomic variability, distinct from traditional accelerator mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlson Mark A & King Thomas & Lewis Kurt, 2011. "Distress in the Financial Sector and Economic Activity," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:35
    DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2697
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    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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