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Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission

  • Ben S. Bernanke
  • Mark Gertler

The 'credit channel' theory of monetary policy transmission holds that informational frictions in credit markets worsen during tight- money periods. The resulting increase in the external finance premium--the difference in cost between internal and external funds-- enhances the effects of monetary policy on the real economy. We document the responses of GDP and its components to monetary policy shocks and describe how the credit channel helps explain the facts. We discuss two main components of this mechanism, the balance-sheet channel and the bank lending channel. We argue that forecasting exercises using credit aggregates are not valid tests of this theory.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5146.

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Date of creation: Jun 1995
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 1995, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 27-48.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5146
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Steven Strongin, 1992. "The identification of monetary policy disturbances: explaining the liquidity puzzle," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "The role of credit market imperfections in the monetary transmission mechanism: arguments and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-5, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Sims, Christopher A. & Zha, Tao, 2006. "Does Monetary Policy Generate Recessions?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 231-272, April.
  4. Jeremy C. Stein, 1998. "An Adverse-Selection Model of Bank Asset and Liability Management with Implications for the Transmission of Monetary Policy," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 466-486, Autumn.
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  6. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 121-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "Is There a `Credit Channel' for Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kashyap, Anil K & Lamont, Owen A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1994. "Credit Conditions and the Cyclical Behavior of Inventories," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 565-92, August.
  9. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1996. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-15, February.
  11. Eun Young Chah & Valerie A. Ramey & Ross M. Starr, 1991. "Liquidity Constraints and Intertemporal Consumer Optimization: Theory and Evidence From Durable Goods," NBER Working Papers 3907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kashyap, Anil K. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1995. "The impact of monetary policy on bank balance sheets," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 151-195, June.
  13. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle," Macroeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
  14. Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Downpayment Effects," NBER Working Papers 4373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Egon Zakrajsek, 1997. "Retail inventories, internal finance, and aggregate fluctuations," Research Paper 9722, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  18. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  19. Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "How Important is the Credit Channel in the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Christopher A. Sims, 1992. "Interpreting the Macroeconomic Time Series Facts: The Effects of Monetary Policy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1011, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  21. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1994. "Identification and the effects of monetary policy shocks," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  22. Bernanke, Ben S., 1993. "How important is the credit channel in the transmission of monetary policy? : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 47-52, December.
  23. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  24. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
  25. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1, June.
  26. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
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  28. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Anil Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Monetary Policy and Bank Lending," NBER Working Papers 4317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. 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.
  31. Stephen D. Oliner & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1994. "Is there a broad credit channel for monetary policy?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 146, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  32. 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.
  33. John Ryding, 1990. "Housing finance and the transmission of monetary policy," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sum, pages 42-55.
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