Credit risk dynamics in response to changes in the federal funds target: The implication for firm short-term debt

Kwamie Dunbar, Abu S. Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The recent credit crisis has raised a number of interesting questions regarding the role of the Federal Reserve Bank and the effectiveness of its expected and unexpected interventions in financial markets, especially during the crisis, given its mandate. This paper reviews and evaluates the impact of expected and unexpected changes in the federal funds rate target on credit risk premia. The paper's main innovation is the use of an ACH-VAR (autoregressive conditional hazard VAR) model to generate the Fed's expected and unexpected monetary policy shocks which are then used to determine the effects of a Federal Reserve policy change on counterparty credit risk and more importantly short-term firm debt financing. The findings answer a longstanding question sought by researchers on the effect of policy makers' announcements on firm debt financing. The results clearly show that the Federal Reserve influences short-term debt financing through the credit channel for both expansionary and contractionary monetary policies. In particular, we find that the growth in counterparty risk appears less responsive to anticipated responses in the Fed funds rate that fail to materialize than to an unanticipated increase in the federal funds rate. Finally, we also document that the results appear to validate the Feds interventions in financial markets to stem counterparty risk and to make liquidity more readily available to firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalReview of Financial Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Autoregressive conditional hazard
  • Credit crisis
  • Federal funds rate
  • Firm value
  • Short term debt financing


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