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Zombie Lending and Depressed Restructuring in Japan

  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Takeo Hoshi
  • Anil K. Kashyap

Large Japanese banks often engaged in sham loan restructurings that kept credit flowing to otherwise insolvent borrowers (which we call zombies). We examine the implications of suppressing the normal competitive process whereby the zombies would shed workers and lose market share. The congestion created by the zombies reduces the profits for healthy firms, which discourages their entry and investment. We confirm that zombie-dominated industries exhibit more depressed job creation and destruction, and lower productivity. We present firm-level regressions showing that the increase in zombies depressed the investment and employment growth of non-zombies and widened the productivity gap between zombies and non-zombies. (JEL G21, G32, L25)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1943-77

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:5:p:1943-77
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.5.1943
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1998. "The Macroeconomics of Specificity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 724-767, August.
  2. Takatoshi Ito & Yuri Nagatake Sasaki, 1998. "Impacts of the Basle Capital Standard on Japanese Banks' Behavior," NBER Working Papers 6730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Flath, David, 2000. "The Japanese Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198775034, March.
  7. Ben S. Bernanke & Henning Bohn & Peter C. Reiss, 1985. "Alternative Nonnested Specification Tests of Time Series Investment Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 2003. "Unnatural Selection: Perverse Incentives and the Misallocation of Credit in Japan," NBER Working Papers 9643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Se-Jik Kim, 2004. "Macro Effects of Corporate Restructuring in Japan," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(3), pages 457-492, November.
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  11. Takeo Hoshi, 2006. "Economics Of The Living Dead," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(1), pages 30-49.
  12. Ogawa, K. & Kitasaka, S.-I., 2000. "Bank Lending in Japan: its Determinants and Macroeconomic Implications," ISER Discussion Paper 0505, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  13. David C. Smith, 2003. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," International Finance Discussion Papers 769, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Sekine, Toshitaka & Kobayashi, Keiichiro & Saita, Yumi, 2003. "Forbearance Lending: The Case of Japanese Firms," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 21(2), pages 69-92, August.
  15. Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2004. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Economic Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
  16. Yasushi Hamao & Jianping Mei & Yexiao Xu, 2007. "Unique Symptoms of Japanese Stagnation: An Equity Market Perspective," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 901-923, 06.
  17. Smith, David C., 2003. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 283-304, September.
  18. Miyagawa, Tsutomu & Ito, Yukiko & Harada, Nobuyuki, 2004. "The IT revolution and productivity growth in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 362-389, September.
  19. Nakakuki, Masayuki & Otani, Akira & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2004. "Distortions in Factor Markets and Structural Adjustments in the Economy," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 22(2), pages 71-99, May.
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