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Interest rate spreads, credit constraints and investment fluctuations: an empirical investigation

  • Mark Gertler
  • R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Anil K. 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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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 137.

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Date of creation: 1990
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:137
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  1. Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1987. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 2318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1989. "Corporate structure, liquidity, and investment: evidence from Japanese industrial groups," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 82, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Benjamin M. Friedman & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1989. "Money, Income and Prices After the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 2852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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 257-76, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Mark L. Gertler, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 2559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macro-Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Anil K. Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein & David W. Wilcox, 1991. "Monetary policy and credit conditions: evidence from the composition of external finance," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 154, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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