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Aggregate Uncertainty and the Supply of Credit

  • Fabian Valencia

Recent studies show that uncertainty shocks have quantitatively important effects on the real economy. This paper examines one particular channel at work: the supply of credit. It presents a model in which a bank, even if managed by risk-neutral shareholders and subject to limited liability, can exhibit self-insurance, and thus loan supply contracts when uncertainty increases. This prediction is tested with the universe of U.S. commercial banks over the period 1984-2010. Identification of credit supply is achieved by looking at the differential response of banks according to their level of capitalization. Consistent with the theoretical predictions, increases in uncertainty reduce the supply of credit, more so for banks with lower levels of capitalization. These results are weaker for large banks, and are robust to controlling for the lending and capital channels of monetary policy, to different measures of uncertainty, and to breaking the dataset in subsamples. Quantitatively, uncertainty shocks are almost as important as monetary policy ones with regards to the effects on the supply of credit.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/241.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: 02 Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/241
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  1. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Adam B. Ashcraft, 2005. "Are Banks Really Special? New Evidence from the FDIC-Induced Failure of Healthy Banks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1712-1730, December.
  3. Bernanke, B. & Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," Working Papers 98-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Jeremy C. Stein & Anil K. Kashyap, 2000. "What Do a Million Observations on Banks Say about the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 407-428, June.
  5. Carlstrom, Charles T & Fuerst, Timothy S, 1997. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 893-910, December.
  6. Christopher F. Baum & Mustafa Caglayan & Neslihan Ozkan, 2003. "The role of uncertainty in the transmission of monetary policy effects on bank lending," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 561, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 28 Apr 2008.
  7. Gabriel Jimenez & Steven Ongena & Jose-Luis Peydro & Jesus Saurina, 2012. "Credit Supply and Monetary Policy: Identifying the Bank Balance-Sheet Channel with Loan Applications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2301-26, August.
  8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973, April.
  9. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
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