Staff Reports

Macro Risk Premium and Intermediary Balance Sheet Quantities

January 2010Number 428
JEL classification: E44, E52, G00

Authors: Tobias Adrian, Emanuel Moench, and Hyun Song Shin

The macro risk premium measures the threshold return for real activity that receives funding from savers. We base our argument in this paper on the relationship between the macro risk premium and the growth of financial intermediaries’ balance sheets. The spare capacity of their balance sheets determines the intermediaries’ risk appetite, which in turn determines the real projects that receive funding and, hence, the supply of credit. Monetary policy affects risk appetite by changing the ability of intermediaries to leverage their capital. We estimate the time-varying risk appetite of financial intermediaries for the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, and study the joint dynamics of risk appetite using macroeconomic aggregates for the United States. We argue that risk appetite is an important indicator of monetary conditions.

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For a published version of this report, see Tobias Adrian, Emanuel Moench, and Hyun Song Shin, "Macro Risk Premium and Intermediary Balance Sheet Quantities," IMF Economic Review 58, no. 1 (August 2010): 179-207.