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What was behind the M2 breakdown?

  • Cara Lown
  • Stavros Peristiani
  • Kenneth J. Robinson

A deterioration in the link between the M2 monetary aggregate and GDP, along with large errors in predicting M2 growth, led the Board of Governors to downgrade the M2 aggregate as a reliable indicator of monetary policy in 1993. In this paper, we argue that the financial condition of depository institutions was a major factor behind the unusual pattern of M2 growth in the early 1990s. By constructing alternative measures of M2 based on banks’ and thrifts’ capital positions, we show that the anomalous behavior of M2 in the early 1990s disappears. Specifically, after accounting for the effect of capital constrained institutions on M2 growth, we are able to explain the unusual behavior of M2 velocity during this time period, obtain superior M2 forecasting results, and produce a more stable relationship between M2 and the ultimate goals of policy. Our work suggests that M2 may contain useful information about economic growth during periods of time when there are no major disturbances to depository institutions.

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File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/banking/fiswp/fiswp9902.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Financial Industry Studies Working Paper with number 99-2.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddfi:99-2
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  1. Miller, Stephen M, 1991. "Monetary Dynamics: An Application of Cointegration and Error-Correction Modeling," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 139-54, May.
  2. Svensson, Lars, 1999. "Monetary Policy Issues for the Eurosystem," Seminar Papers 667, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Martin Feldstein & James H. Stock, 1994. "The Use of a Monetary Aggregate to Target Nominal GDP," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 7-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Estrella, Arturo & Mishkin, Frederic S., 1997. "Is there a role for monetary aggregates in the conduct of monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 279-304, October.
  5. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 1992. "The capital crunch in New England," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 21-31.
  6. John V. Duca, 1992. "The case of the "missing M2."," Research Paper 9202, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  7. Phillips, Peter C B & Ouliaris, S, 1990. "Asymptotic Properties of Residual Based Tests for Cointegration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 165-93, January.
  8. John B. Carlson & Sharon E. Parrott, 1991. "The demand for M2, opportunity cost, and financial change," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q II, pages 2-11.
  9. Duca, John V., 1995. "Should bond funds be added to M2?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 131-152, April.
  10. Joshua N. Feinman & Richard D. Porter, 1992. "The continuing weakness in the M2," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 209, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Hafer, R W & Jansen, Dennis W, 1991. "The Demand for Money in the United States: Evidence from Cointegration Tests," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 155-68, May.
  12. David H. Small & Richard D. Porter, 1989. "Understanding the behavior of M2 and V2," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 244-254.
  13. Friedman, Benjamin M & Kuttner, Kenneth N, 1992. "Money, Income, Prices, and Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 472-92, June.
  14. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
  15. Evan F. Koenig, 1996. "Forecasting M2 growth: an exploration in real time," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 16-26.
  16. Joanna Stavins, 1999. "Checking accounts: what do banks offer and what do consumers value?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 3-14.
  17. Koenig, Evan F., 1996. "Long-term interest rates and the recent weakness in M2," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 81-101, May.
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