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The Transmission Mechanism of Monetary Policy in Europe: Evidence from Banks’ Balance Sheets

  • Francesco Giavazzi

Available studies on asymmetries in the monetary transmission mechanism within Europe are invariably based on macro-economic evidence: such evidence is abundant but often contradictory. This paper takes a different route by using micro-economic data. We use the information contained in the balance sheets of individual banks (available from the BankScope database) to implement a case-study on the response of banks in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to a monetary tightening. The episode we study occurred during 1992, when monetary conditions were tightened throughout Europe. Evidence on such tightening is provided by the uniform squeeze in liquidity, which affected all banks in our sample. We study the first link in the transmission chain by analysing the response of bank loans to the monetary tightening. Our experiment provides evidence on the importance of the "credit" channel in Europe, and thus on one possibly important source of asymmetries in the monetary transmission mechanism. We do not find evidence of a significant response of bank loans to the monetary tightening, which occurred during 1992, in any of the four European countries we have considered. However, we find significant differences both across countries and across banks of different dimensions in the factors that allow them to shield the supply of loans from the squeeze in liquidity.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 99-20.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:99-20
Phone: (617) 253-3361
Fax: (617) 253-1330
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  1. Cerasi, V. & Chizzolini, B. & Ivaldi, M., 1997. "Sunk Costs and Competitiveness of European Banks After Deregulation," Papers 97.473, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  2. Anil K. Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1997. "The role of banks in monetary policy: a survey with implications for the European Monetary Union," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Sep, pages 2-18.
  3. Rudi Dornbusch & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 1998. "Immediate challenges for the European Central Bank," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 15-64, 04.
  4. Stefan Gerlach & Frank Smets, 1995. "The monetary transmission mechanism: Evidence from the G-7 countries," BIS Working Papers 26, Bank for International Settlements.
  5. Maclennan, Duncan & Muellbauer, John & Stephens, Mark, 1998. "Asymmetries in Housing and Financial Market Institutions and EMU," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 54-80, Autumn.
  6. Rudiger Dornbusch & Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 1998. "The Immediate Challenges for the European Central Bank," NBER Working Papers 6369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Anil K Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "The Impact of Monetary Policy on Bank Balance Sheets," NBER Working Papers 4821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1988. "Credit, Money, and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 435-39, May.
  9. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1999. "Legal structure, financial structure, and the monetary policy transmission mechanism," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 9-28.
  10. Fernando Barran & Virginie Coudert & Benoît Mojon, 1997. "La transmission des politiques monétaires dans les pays européens," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 12(2), pages 133-158.
  11. 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.
  12. Mads Kieler & Tuomas Saarenheimo, 1998. "Differences in monetary policy transmission? A case not closed," European Economy - Economic Papers 132, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  13. Anil K Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1997. "What Do a Million Banks Have to Say About the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 6056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1, July.
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