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Interest Rate Spreads, Credit Constraints, and Investment Fluctuations: An Empirical Investigation

In: Financial Markets and Financial Crises

  • Mark Gertler
  • R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Anil Kashyap

We present a simple framework that incorporates a role for "interest rate spreads" in models of investment fluctuations. Formally, we develop a simple model of investment and financial contracting under asymmetric information that can he used to generate an Euler equation describing firms' intertemporal decisions about investment. The Euler equation is than estimated using data on U.S. producers' durable equipment investment. We find that during certain periods -- owing to agency-cost problems -- the basic Euler equation is violated, and shifts in interest rate differentials help predict investment. Thus, the empirical results lend support to models emphasizing how: (i) movements in agency costs of external finance can amplify investment fluctuation, and (ii) changes in the interest rate spread may signal movements in these agency costs.

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This chapter was published in:
  • R. Glenn Hubbard, 1991. "Financial Markets and Financial Crises," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glen91-1, September.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11481.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11481
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    1. Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 194-99, May.
    2. Robert J. Gordon & John Veitch, 1986. "Fixed Investment in the American Business Cycle, 1919-83," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 267-358 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Stephen Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 24-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    5. R. Glenn Hubbard & Anil K. Kashyap, 1991. "Internal net worth and the investment process: an application to U.S. agriculture," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1990. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 87-114.
    7. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    8. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
    9. Anil K Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein & David W. Wilcox, 1992. "Monetary Policy and Credit Conditions: Evidence From the Composition of External Finance," NBER Working Papers 4015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Financial Intermediation, Business Failures, and Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1196-1216, December.
    11. Gertler, Mark & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "North-South lending and endogenous domestic capital market inefficiencies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 245-266, October.
    12. Charles W. Calomiris & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1989. "Price Flexibility, Credit Availability, and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from the United States, 1894–1909," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 429-452.
    13. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1991. "Corporate Structure, Liquidity, and Investment: Evidence from Japanese Industrial Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 33-60.
    14. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
    16. Benjamin M. Friedman & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1989. "Money, Income and Prices After the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 2852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    18. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
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