Aggregate Uncertainty and the Supply of Credit

27 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2013

See all articles by Fabián Valencia

Fabián Valencia

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: December 2013


Recent studies show that uncertainty shocks have quantitatively important effects on the real economy. This paper examines one particular channel at work: the supply of credit. It presents a model in which a bank, even if managed by risk-neutral shareholders and subject to limited liability, can exhibit self-insurance, and thus loan supply contracts when uncertainty increases. This prediction is tested with the universe of U.S. commercial banks over the period 1984-2010. Identification of credit supply is achieved by looking at the differential response of banks according to their level of capitalization. Consistent with the theoretical predictions, increases in uncertainty reduce the supply of credit, more so for banks with lower levels of capitalization. These results are weaker for large banks, and are robust to controlling for the lending and capital channels of monetary policy, to different measures of uncertainty, and to breaking the dataset in subsamples. Quantitatively, uncertainty shocks are almost as important as monetary policy ones with regards to the effects on the supply of credit.

Keywords: External shocks, United States, Commercial banks, Bank credit, Supply, Business cycles, Monetary policy, Economic models, Credit Cycles, Credit Crunch, Uncertainty, Self-insurance, real gdp, bank capital, gdp growth, bank capitalization, bank size, banking, transmission of monetary policy, banking crises, bank defaults, regional bank, banks ’ balance sheets, bank data, bank risk, bank assets, banking industry, bank risk exposure, bank regulation, probability of default, business cycle fluctuations, growth rates

JEL Classification: E50, E44, D80

Suggested Citation

Valencia, Fabian V., Aggregate Uncertainty and the Supply of Credit (December 2013). IMF Working Paper No. 13/241. Available at SSRN:

Fabian V. Valencia (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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