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Credit channel or credit actions? an interpretation of the postwar transmission mechanism

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  • Christina D. Romer
  • David 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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  • Christina D. Romer & David Romer, 1993. "Credit channel or credit actions? an interpretation of the postwar transmission mechanism," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 71-149.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:1993:p:71-149
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Menzie Chinn & Michael Dooley, 1995. "National, regional and international capital markets: Measurement and implications for domestic financial fragility," International Finance 9508006, EconWPA.
    2. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Marvin J. Barth III & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "The Cost Channel of Monetary Transmission," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 199-256 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Choi, Woon Gyu & Kim, Yungsan, 2005. "Trade Credit and the Effect of Macro-Financial Shocks: Evidence from U.S. Panel Data," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(04), pages 897-925, December.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. McMillin, W. Douglas, 1996. "Monetary policy and bank portfolios," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 315-335, October.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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 551-572, June.
    14. 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).
    15. Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2003. "Le emissioni delle banche italiane sull' euromercato," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 56(224), pages 461-480.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit ; Bank loans ; Monetary policy - United States ; Economic history ; Federal Reserve System - History;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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