Summary: In this paper I estimate a New Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model for the Euro Area, which closely follows the structure of the model developed by Smets and Wouters (2003, 2005, 2007), with the addition of the so-called financial accelerator mechanism developed in Bernanke, Gertler and Gilchrist (1999). The main aim is to obtain a time series for the unobserved external finance premium that entrepreneurs pay on their loans, with the further aim of providing a dynamic analysis of it. Results confirm in general what was recently found for the US by De Graeve (2008), namely that (1) the model incorporating financial frictions can generate a series for the premium, without using any financial macroeconomic aggregates, that is highly correlated with available proxies for it, (2) the estimated premium is not necessarily counter-cyclical (this depends on the shock considered). Nevertheless, although in addition the model with financial frictions better describes Euro Area data than the model without them, the former is not satisfactory in many other respects. For instance, the accelerator effect turns out to be statistically not significant. However, this does not impede financial frictions from remaining a key ingredient to model. In fact, I found that the estimated premium is a very powerful predictor of inflation. It overcomes, in terms of the Mean Squared Forecast Error, the traditional output gap measure in a Phillips curve specification.
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