Research Discussion Paper – RDP 9208 Credit Supply and Demand and the Australian Economy


The paper explores the lending behaviour of financial intermediaries over the business cycle in the light of new theories emphasising agency costs. During a “credit crunch” loans from financial intermediaries are unobtainable at any price, so that credit may have a “causal” role in influencing economic outcomes in the short run. Tests of this phenomenon show that it is not supported by the Australian data. However, while credit may not “cause” economic activity it may, nevertheless, have useful leading indicator properties. This is because the demand for credit is based on expectations about future demand as well as the current cost of credit. Indeed, monetary policy operates in part via intertemporal substitution in demand, which is reflected in, though not caused by, the behaviour of credit. These properties of credit are shown to be broadly consistent with Australian data.

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