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Banking in General Equilibrium

  • Ben S. Bernanke
  • Mark L. Gertler

This paper attempts to provide a step towards understanding the role of financial intermediaries ("banks") in aggregate economic activity. We first develop a model of the intermediary sector which is highly simplified, but rich enough to motivate several special features of bauks. Of particular importance in our model is the assumption that banks are more efficient than the public in evaluating and auditing certain information --intensive loan projects. Banks are also assumed to have private information about their investments, which motivates the heavy reliance of banks on debt rather than equity finance and their need for buffer stock capital. We embed this intermediary sector in a general equilibrium framework, which includes consumers and a non-banking investment sector. Mainly because banks have superior access to some investments, factors affecting the size or efficiency of banking will also have an impact on the aggregate economy. Among the factors affecting intermediation, we show, are the adequacy of bank capital, the riskiness of bank investments, and the costs of bank monitoring. We also show that our model is potentially useful for understanding the macroeconomic effects of phenomena such as financial crises, disintermediation, banking regulation, and certain types of monetary policy.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1647.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1647.

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Date of creation: Jun 1985
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Publication status: published as Bernanke, Ben and Mark Gertler. "Banking and Macroeconomic Equilibrium," New Approaches to Monetary Economics, ed. W. Barnett and K. Singleton, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. with Mark Gertler
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1647
Note: EFG
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  1. Alan S. Blinder & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 1084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  3. Fischer, Stanley, 1983. "A Framework for Monetary and Banking Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(369a), pages 1-16, Supplemen.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bryant, John, 1980. "A model of reserves, bank runs, and deposit insurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-344, December.
  6. Donald D. Hester, 1981. "Innovations and Monetary Control," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 141-200.
  7. Townsend, Robert M, 1983. "Financial Structure and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 895-911, December.
  8. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  9. Fama, Eugene F., 1985. "What's different about banks?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 29-39, January.
  10. Smith, Bruce D., 1984. "Private information, deposit interest rates, and the `stability' of the banking system," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 293-317, November.
  11. Peltzman, Sam, 1970. "Capital Investment in Commercial Banking and Its Relationship to Portfolio Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-26, Jan.-Feb..
  12. King, Robert G & Plosser, Charles I, 1984. "Money, Credit, and Prices in a Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 363-80, June.
  13. Stanley Fischer, 1982. "A Framework for Monetary and Banking Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
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