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Business fixed investment: evidence of a financial accelerator in Europe

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  • Vermeulen, Philip

Abstract

Financial accelerator theories imply that weak balance sheets can amplify adverse shocks on firm investment. This effect should be asymmetric, stronger in downturns than in upturns and stronger for small firms than for large firms. This paper provides empirical evidence of the presence of a financial accelerator in the four largest euro area economies: Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Using annual firm balance sheet data over the period 1983 - 1997 it is shown that weak balance sheets are more important in explaining investment during downturns than during upturns. It is further shown that the effects of the accelerator are largest for small firms. JEL Classification: E22, E44

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0037.

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Date of creation: Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20000037

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Keywords: business fixed investment;

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  1. Guiso, L. & Kashyap, A.K. & Panetta, F. & Terlizzese, D., 2000. "Will a Common European Monetary Policy Have Asymmetric Effects?," Papers 384, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  2. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1994. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," NBER Working Papers 4789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
  5. Laura Rondi & Brian Sack & Fabio Schiantarelli & Alessandro Sembenelli, 1998. "Firms' Financial and Real Responses to Monetary Tightening: Evidence for Large and Small Italian Companies," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 57(1), pages 35-64, April.
  6. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "The role of credit market imperfections in the monetary transmission mechanism: arguments and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-5, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Kaplan, Steven N & Zingales, Luigi, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215, February.
  8. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  9. Oliner, Stephen & Rudebusch, Glenn & Sichel, Daniel, 1995. "New and Old Models of Business Investment: A Comparison of Forecasting Performance," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 806-26, August.
  10. Stephen D. Oliner & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1996. "Is there a broad credit channel for monetary policy?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 3-13.
  11. Guariglia, Alessandra, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Constraints on Inventory Investment: Evidence from a Panel of UK Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(261), pages 43-62, February.
  12. Charles W. Calomiris & Athanasios Orphanides & Steven A. Sharpe, 1994. "Leverage as a State Variable for Employment, Inventory Accumulation, andFixed Investment," NBER Working Papers 4800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kashyap, Anil K & Lamont, Owen A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1994. "Credit Conditions and the Cyclical Behavior of Inventories," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 565-92, August.
  14. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  15. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  16. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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