The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework

Ben Bernanke, Mark Gertler, Simon Gilchrist

NBER Working Paper No. 6455
Issued in March 1998
NBER Program(s):   ME   EFG

This paper develops a dynamic general equilibrium model that is intended to help clarify the role of credit market frictions in business fluctuations, from both a qualitative and a quantitative standpoint. The model is a synthesis of the leading approaches in the literature. In particular, the framework exhibits a financial accelerator,' in that endogenous developments in credit markets work to amplify and propagate shocks to the macroeconomy. In addition, we add several features to the model that are designed to enhance the empirical relevance. First, we incorporate money and price stickiness, which allows us to study how credit market frictions may influence the transmission of monetary policy. In addition, we allow for lags in investment which enables the model to generate both hump-shaped output dynamics and a lead-lag relation between asset prices and investment, as is consistent with the data. Finally, we allow for heterogeneity among firms to capture the fact that borrowers have differential access to capital markets. Under reasonable parametrizations of the model, the financial accelerator has a significant influence on business cycle dynamics.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6455


  • Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 78, no. 1 (February 1996): 1-15.
  • Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.

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