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Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms

  • Mark Gertler
  • Simon Gilchrist

We present evidence on the cyclical behavior of small versus large manufacturing firms, and on the response of the two classes of firms to monetary policy. Our goal is to take a step toward quantifying the role of credit market imperfections in the business cycle and in the monetary transmission mechanism. We find that, following tight money, small firms sales decline at a faster pace than large firm sales for a period of more than two years. Further, bank lending to small firms contracts, while it actually rises for large firms. Monetary policy indicators tied to the performance of banking, such as M2, have relatively greater predictive power for small firms than for large. Finally, small firms are more sensitive than are large to lagged movements in GNP. Considering that small firms overall are a non-trivial component of the economy, we interpret these results as suggestive of the macroeconomic relevance of credit market imperfections.

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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 93-4.

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Date of creation: 1993
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:93-4
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  1. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  2. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
  3. Ben S. Bernanke & Alan S. Blinder, 1989. "The federal funds rate and the channels of monetary transmission," Working Papers 89-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Alan S. Blinder & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 1084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Calomiris, Charles W & Hubbard, R Glenn, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and 'Credit Rationing.'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 90-104, March.
  8. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Working Papers 2966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
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  12. Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "The Source of Fluctuations in Money: Evidence From Trade Credit," NBER Working Papers 3756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Ben S. Bernanke, 1990. "On the predictive power of interest rates and interest rate spreads," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 51-68.
  15. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
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  17. 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.
  18. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  19. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1990. "New Evidence on the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 149-214.
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