DP12982 The Money View Versus the Credit View

Author(s): Sarah S. Baker, J David López-Salido, Edward Nelson
Publication Date: June 2018
Keyword(s): credit view, Financial crises, money view, Recessions
JEL(s): E32, E51
Programme Areas: Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12982

We argue that Schularick and Taylor's (2012) comparison of credit growth and monetary growth as financial-crisis predictors does not necessarily provide a valid basis for achieving one of their stated intentions: evaluating the relative merits of the "money view" and "credit view" as accounts of macroeconomic outcomes. Our own analysis of the postwar evidence suggests that money outperforms credit in predicting economic downturns in the 14 countries in Schularick and Taylor's dataset. This contrasts with Schularick and Taylor's (2012) highly negative verdict on the money view. In accounting for the difference in findings, we first explain that Schularick and Taylor's characterization of the money view is defective, both because their criterion for its validity (that rapid monetary growth predicts financial crises) is misplaced, and because they incorrectly take the money view's proponents as relying on the notion that monetary aggregates are a good proxy for credit aggregates. In fact, the money view of Friedman and Schwartz does not predict an automatic relationship between rapid monetary growth and (financial or economic) downturns, nor does it rest on money being a good proxy for credit. We further show that Schularick and Taylor's data on money have systematic faults. For our reexamination of the evidence, we have constructed new, and more reliable, annual data on money for the countries studied by Schularick and Taylor.