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Slow Debt, Deep Recessions

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  • Joachim Jungherr
  • Immo Schott

Abstract

Business credit lags GDP growth by about one year. This contributes to high leverage during recessions and slow deleveraging. We show that a model in which firms use risky long-term debt replicates this slow adjustment of firm debt. In the model, slow-moving debt has important effects for real activity. High levels of firm debt issued during expansions are only gradually reduced during recessions. This generates an adverse feedback loop between high default rates and low investment and thereby amplifies the downturn. Sluggish deleveraging slows down the recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • Joachim Jungherr & Immo Schott, 2022. "Slow Debt, Deep Recessions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 224-259, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:14:y:2022:i:1:p:224-59
    DOI: 10.1257/mac.20190306
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    Cited by:

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    2. Andrea Ajello & Ander Pérez-Orive & Bálint Szőke, 2023. "Sticky Leverage: Comment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2023-051, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Reiter, Michael & Zessner-Spitzenberg, Leopold, 2023. "Long-term bank lending and the transfer of aggregate risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    4. Keiichiro KOBAYASHI & Daichi SHIRAI, 2023. "Debt-Ridden Borrowers and Persistent Stagnation," CIGS Working Paper Series 23-001E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    5. Matthias Kaldorf & Florian Wicknig, 2021. "Risky Financial Collateral, Firm Heterogeneity, and the Impact of Eligibility Requirements," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 123, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    6. Aubhik Khan & Soyoung Lee, 2023. "Persistent Debt and Business Cycles in an Economy with Production Heterogeneity," Staff Working Papers 23-17, Bank of Canada.
    7. Andrea Fabiani & Martha López & José-Luis Peydró & Paul E. Soto, 2023. "Capital Controls, Corporate Debt and Real Effects: Evidence from Boom and Crisis Times," Borradores de Economia 1244, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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