Summary: Applying the identification strategy employed by Driscoll (2004) for the United States, this paper provides empirical evidence for the existence of a bank lending channel of monetary policy transmission in the euro area. In addition, and in contrast to recent findings for the US, we find that in the euro area changes in the supply of credit, both in terms of volumes and in terms of credit standards applied on loans to enterprises, have significant effects on real economic activity. This highlights the importance of the monitoring of credit developments in the toolkit of monetary policy and underpins the reasoning behind giving monetary and credit analysis a prominent role in the monetary policy strategy of the ECB. It also points to the potential negative repercussions on real economic growth of bank balance sheet impairments arising in the context of the financial crisis erupting in mid-2007 which led to the need for banks to delever their balance sheets and possibly to reduce their loan supply.
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