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Financing Capital Formation in the 1980s: Issues for Public Policy

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  • Benjamin M. Friedman
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    Abstract

    Three specific aspects of the corporate financing decision - internal versus external funds, equity versus debt within the external component, and features of the debt including especially maturity - present opportunities (and pitfalls) for public policy for affecting U.S. capital formation. First, by reducing the government's dissaving and hence its claims on the economy's financial resources, policy can make credit market funds available for corporations to finance their investment externally, thereby both stimulating the overall amount of capital formation and also taking advantage of the allocative efficiency of the competitive market mechanism to achieve a productive composition of that capital formation. At the same time, by using the tax system to augment the rate of return on corporate-sector assets, policy can also enable corporations better to compete for such funds once they are available. Second, by eliminating or even reversing the current tax discrimination in favor of debt, policy can encourage corporations to rely at least in part on equities in their external financing , thereby reducing the economy 's aggregate-level financial risk. Third, by neutralizing or even reversing the current emphasis on long- term securities in managing the federal government's own debt, policy can encourage corporations to issue long- instead of short-term debt instruments, thereby further reducing aggregate-level financial risk. Along the same lines, policy can also play a role in pioneering markets for new financial instruments, like bonds providing protection of the investor's purchasing power, that private borrowers can then use to finance private capital formation.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0745.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0745.

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    Date of creation: Jul 1982
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    Publication status: published as in "Toward a New U.S. Industrial Policy," edited by Michael L. Wachter and Susan M. Wachter, pp. 95-126. Philadelphia: Universityof Pennsylvania Press, 1981.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0745

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    1. Bodie, Zvi & Friedman, Benjamin M, 1978. "Interest Rate Uncertainty and the Value of Bond Call Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 19-43, February.
    2. George L. Perry, 1977. "Potential Output and Productivity," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 11-60.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 1980. "The "End-of-Expansion" Phenomenon in Short-run Productivity Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1979. "Substitution and Expectation Effects on Long-Term Borrowing Behavior and Long-Term Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(2), pages 131-50, May.
    5. Boskin, Michael J, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S3-27, April.
    6. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1977. "Is the Rate of Profit Falling?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 211-228.
    7. Michael J. Boskin, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 3-27 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Rate of Return, Taxation and Personal Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(351), pages 482-87, September.
    9. E. Philip Howrey & Saul H. Hymans, 1978. "The Measurement and Determination of Loanable-Funds Saving," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 9(3), pages 655-685.
    10. Jaffee, Dwight M., 1975. "Cyclical variations in the risk structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 309-325, July.
    11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
    12. Benjamin M. Friedman & Milton Friedman & A. W. Clausen, 1980. "Postwar Changes in the American Financial Markets," NBER Chapters, in: The American Economy in Transition, pages 9-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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