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Financial factors in business fluctuations

  • Mark Gertler
  • R. Glenn Hubbard

Recent research in macroeconomics -- both theoretical and empirical -- has resurrected the idea that capital market imperfections may be significant factors in business volatility by making new progress in characterizing the mechanisms. This paper outlines a case for a financial aspect to business fluctuations, in light of the contributions of this new literature. We present a theoretical model that explicitly motivates how financial factors may affect investment. We then report some existing tests of the model's basic predictions4 and also present two new sets of results. The first demonstrates that the inverse relation between sales variability and size documented in many studies may be due to financial rather than technological factors, in contrast to the conventional view. The second lends support to a theoretical prediction of the model. that the effects of capital market frictions on investment should be asymmetric -- having more impact in recessions than booms. The final section presents conclusions, and addresses some policy questions.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole.

Volume (Year): (1988)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 33-78

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:1988:p:33-78
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  1. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1985. "Implicit Contracts with Asymmetric Information and Bankruptcy: The Effect of Interest Rates on Layoffs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 427-442.
  2. Robert Eisner, 1978. "Introduction to "Factors in Business Investment"," NBER Chapters, in: Factors in Business Investment, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David M. Cutler & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "The Costs of Conflict Resolution and Financial Distress: Evidence from the Texaco-Pennzoil Litigation," NBER Working Papers 2418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Farmer, Roger E A, 1984. "A New Theory of Aggregate Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 920-30, December.
  6. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macro-Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andrew B. Abel & Olivier J. Blanchard, 1983. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," NBER Working Papers 1122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
  9. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  10. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  11. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
  12. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
  13. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  14. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
  15. Alan S. Blinder & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 1084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
  17. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
  18. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  20. Mark L. Gertler, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 2559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Ben S. Bernanke & John Y. Campbell, 1988. "Is There a Corporate Debt Crisis?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 83-140.
  22. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
  23. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  24. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
  25. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  26. Robert Eisner, 1978. "Factors in Business Investment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eisn78-1.
  27. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  28. Fazzari, Steven M & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Investment, Financing Decisions, and Tax Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 200-205, May.
  29. Robert E. Hall, 1988. "A Non-Competitive, Equilibrium Model Of Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Townsend, Robert M., 1988. "Information constrained insurance : The revelation principle extended," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 411-450.
  31. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Financial Intermediation, Business Failures, and Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1196-1216, December.
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