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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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3892.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3892.

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Date of creation: Nov 1991
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Publication status: published as Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-40, May
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3892
Note: ME
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  1. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  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. Blinder, Alan S & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 297-302, May.
  4. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5h07k8vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. 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.
  6. Farmer, Roger E A, 1985. "Implicit Contracts with Asymmetric Information and Bankruptcy: The Effect of Interest Rates on Layoffs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 427-42, July.
  7. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "On the Predictive Power of Interest Rates and Interest Rate Spreads," NBER Working Papers 3486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Christopher A. Sims, 1980. "Comparison of Interwar and Postwar Business Cycles: Monetarism Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 0430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Ramey, Valerie A., 1992. "The source of fluctuations in money : Evidence from trade credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 171-193, November.
  19. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
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